Fanny and Alexander Screen 5 articles

Fanny and Alexander


Fanny and Alexander Poster
  • Fanny, by all accounts, is considered Bergman's grandest achievement, a sweeping, lovingly detailed bildungsroman of memorable characterizations, embracing every theme close to his heart, etching a vivid portrait of his childhood, and invoking his fascination with theater and cinema with its very first shot.

  • It is Bergman’s final masterpiece. Well, not exactly, as he kept on making great films for years afterward. But in the master plan, this is the last actual film, the closing of his main body of work. . . . Initially, this film was overlooked because, in the shortened so-called theatrical version, it lost some of the richness of its texture. It was only gradually, when it was revisited in its full version, that it imposed itself, at least on me, as the key to his whole body of work.

  • Clearly the director’s surrogate, Alexander, the son of actors, is first seen playing with a toy theater, whose motto reads “Not for pleasure alone.” He, along with his younger sister (Allwin), will soon be thrust from the never-ending delights of a warm extended family into the horrors of an unbearably severe second home. Our young protagonist will be obsessed with death and see ghosts everywhere. Never has the prison of childhood seemed so inescapable.

  • The kind of rich, timeless, cautionless magnum opus we can only receive, like benedictions, from artists who’ve paid their generation’s dues of sweat, risk, tears, and honesty. . . . Bergman locates a generosity and élan that make F&A feel like his youngest film. Pity that the five-hour-plus Swedish TV version isn’t being given a screen—reportedly, Bergman himself prefers the three-hour theatrical version, but for me, the more of this royal banquet the better.

  • The full five-hour cut of Bergman’s last official film includes some of this filmmaker’s clearest, most mature working through of age-old concerns, in the guise of a warmer, more accessible address. For casual viewers Fanny and Alexander is Bergman’s most attractive film, while for connoisseurs it is a massive crystalline prism text that refracts the central concerns of a forty-year oeuvre.

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