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FANNY AND ALEXANDER, 1982
Movie Review

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FANNY AND ALEXANDER,  MOVIE POSTERFANNY AND ALEXANDER, 1982
Movie Reviews

Directed by Ingmar Bergman

Cast: Pernilla Allwin, Bertil Guve, Börje Ahlstedt, Allan Edwall, Ewa Fröling, Gunn Wållgren, Jarl Kul
Review by Jordan Young


SYNOPSIS:

The title characters are children in the exuberant and colorful Ekdahl household in a Swedish town early in the twentieth century. Their parents, Oscar and Emilie, are the director and the leading lady of the local theatre company. Oscar's mother and brother are its chief patrons. After Oscar's early death, his widow marries the bishop and moves with her children to his austere and forbidding chancery. The children are immediately miserable. The film dramatizes and resolves those conflicts. A sub-plot features Isak, a local Jewish merchant who is the grandmother's lover and whose odd household becomes the children's refuge.

WON 4 OSCARS: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Foreign Film

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REVIEW:

Some would consider this the Swede's magnum opus, I believe its Winter Light, but nonetheless you cannot deny the beauty of Fanny and Alexander (Fanny och Alexander),

This film is an epic amount of length for the tv version which clocks in at 312 minutes, but there is a feature length version as well.

Essentially this film deals with the Ekdahl family, and 3 generations of it. I would say this Ingmar Bergman's most easily accessible film, and at times it even ventures into magical realism. The cinematography as usual is beautiful, Sven Nykvist does yet another amazing job, and this time, his work earned him an Oscar as well. 1 of 4 for this film overall.

Fanny and Alexander follows the story of the Ekdahls (a veryuppercrust family) in the early twentieth century. They are family that vocationally as well as domestically pursues drama. Everything is going fine (aside from the uncle having an affair with the maid).

Until the father dies. Emilie, the mother, then marries the townbishop, Edvard Verkerus played by Jan Malmsjö. This is where it starts to get interesting.

This film is slightly (terrifyingly) autobiographical as well. In "The Magic Lantern" (Bergman's autobiography) he wrote about how his father was a minister and punished him in very similar ways to how Alexander is punished in the film. He apparently had a very difficult upbringing.

The visuals in this film are easily memorable because of how vivid and warm the colors are, and how pure and crisp the natural lighting is (with the exception of the "magic escape scene"). Bergman really captures how the children see this world. However the focus seems to be on Alexander, not Fanny. The imagery in this film is full of wonder and intrigue. There are certain unexplainable events that happen, solely because of the Alexander's imagination (this explains the aforementioned escape). This film also explains the joyful, beautifulcolors in the house of the Ekdahl's and the lugubrious colors ofVerkerus's house.

Everything can be easily written off as good; like grandma and the big bad step-father. But when we do see the elements of the adults lives that Alexander is not supposed to see, it feels as if we are peeping in on them. As viewer's we feel guilty, but good about it.

There are even some events that happen within the realm of the film that feel as though Alexander is telling you how the story happened, as opposed to how the events actually unraveled. In the same vein, there are multiple moments in the film where the father's ghost comes back and relays information to Alexander, there is no resistance to this idea, there is no suspension of disbelief, the viewer just kind of accepts it.

This film is a champion of family values, and ultimately, love. Ingmar Bergman said this was to be his last film, but, that (fortunately for his fan base) did not happen. Bergman clearly matured over his work, and although some of the fans call this "an old man film", it really does work for the family. It is a life-affirming, feel good film, that everyone should enjoy. (even if it is just the theatrical release).

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FANNY AND ALEXANDER


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