FARO DOCUMENT

This is a documentary by Ingmar Bergman about the island of Faro. It is, frankly, as miserable as you can imagine.

It’s like a compressed version of the decades-long British “Up” documentary skein – footage from different eras repeating staging, schoolkids interviewed on a bus found years later so we can see how their dreams died. An island slowly being choked off by neglect. Bergman lived and worked on Faro on and off for forty-odd years. Articles about Faro tend to cast it as an enchanted island. Apparently very few people on Faro saw it that way. But there is a sequence in the middle, where dozens of people come together to thatch a barn in a traditional style, that does approach magic. One of the old men overseeing it explains how the local reeds are used to waterproof the structure, showing how the rain runs down the fold of the reed. Of course, during that whole piece, there is this exchange too: