Fanny and Alexander

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Through the wide eyes of ten-year-old Alexander (Bertil Guve), we witness the great delights and conflicts of the Ekdahl family a sprawling, convivial bourgeois clan living in turn-of-the-century Sweden. Intended as Ingmar Bergman's swan song, Fanny and Alexander (Fanny och Alexander) is the legendary filmmaker's warmest and most autobiographical film, a triumph that combines his trademark melancholy and emotional rigor with immense joyfulness and sensuality. (official distributor synopsis)


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English An unconventional Ingmar Bergman film, which shows that he truly mastered the film medium and presents to the audience the beautiful and painful childhood of Fanny and Alexander. They are cute, but the world around them is not just beautiful. Childhood can be fun, it can hurt, and this is beautifully depicted in the film, plus its visuals are simply pleasing to the eye. ()


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English A moment ago, I came out of Bergman's little world, this stage full of people wearing different masks... and I still have a difficult time finding words. Fanny and Alexander is a brilliant film. I say that with all certainty. Brilliant because it reflects a great world. In the colossal and scalding epic of one Swedish family, deep philosophical questions arise about the very essence of who we are. Truth and lie. Love and hate. Faith and doubt. Reality and fantasy. Bergman doesn't ask the viewer questions. He lets them "happen" in front of his eyes. And the viewer has to ask. And the viewer has to look for answers. The principle of European cinema: asking questions, not staring and getting entertained. This film requires an attentive viewer who can read between the lines, search, form an opinion. How many times do word and image get going and characters tell stories? And it's you, the viewers, who have to create them through fantasy, Bergman just gives you an impulse and opens up space for imagination. Fanny and Alexander is truly the master’s opus magni. It depicts an agitated mysticism, displayed explicitly, physically; deep psychology that makes each character into a complex universe and gentle humor (Fellinian kind and ordinary). I don't think this film is idyllic and anthemic; on the contrary, under all the celebratory tones a stream of tragedy flows like an underground river. The guilt that accompanies us and appears when we least expect it. Time we can't stop, which we are reminded of by the sound of the clock. The ubiquitous scars that are the tax on our actions. Even Alexander, in a riveting magical blending with the wonderful Izmail, cannot resist the hatred that will mark him ... And yet, Bergman puts all hope into newborn life. And also into a creative fantasy that – tragic or humorous – can transform the world... Bergman's cinematic world is a child's wonder world, where things radiate the mood of the moment, happening in the most common yet wonderful way... and perhaps that is why their contrast with the cold, evil and rationalized world of adults (embodied by Bishop Edvard Vergerus) is so harsh and painfully steep. Fanny and Alexander is a world in film, an animated slice of another reality where you can fit in, but you don't have to. For me, it is a world in which I find everything that makes film a powerful medium and above all – ART! Folks, go ahead and see if you can still (after all these colossal big productions) do more than just watch the film! ()



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English An intimately tuned trip to the Swedish bourgeois society of the early 20th century, where Ingmar Bergman projected his childhood memories mixed with his extraordinary imagination into the film. He filmed it as a mature creator who learned from his mistakes and who cared about the acceptance of his work by the wider public. Some of his previous works brought artistic critics to ecstasy, but for viewers, they were on the verge of bearability. The director abandoned the harshly pessimistic view of the world and, although he does not avoid the topic of death and the loss of a loved one here either, optimism prevails, and the final family celebration ends completely idyllically. The story can be considered a confrontation between the thinking and values of the liberal bourgeois upper middle class and Protestant intolerant bigotry. The clash between the bishop and the little Alexander can be seen as a conflict between modernity and remnants of medieval thinking. Love for the theater (Bergman considered himself much more of a theater director than a filmmaker) is inserted into scenes from the family theater environment, which is directly related to the plot, where the little protagonist's mother works as an actress and his father is a theater director. It is no coincidence that Alexander's father dies on stage... The film is dominated by excellent acting performances - thanks to his position, Bergman was able to work with the best Swedish actors, and he also raised a number of actors himself, who knew well what their boss wanted from them. The film has excellent camera work and carefully chosen costumes and sets. In my opinion, this is Bergman's best film. Overall impression 95%. The best scenes are the ones with Alexander's stay in the house of the Jewish merchant, where the exoticism of the environment merges with the child's imagination and creates a surreal atmosphere. ()


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English The first hour is full of life, physical pleasures, warm colours, and opulently furnished and spacious rooms, which give the protagonists a lot of freedom. Many characters, many micro-stories, the joy of discovery. After the father’s death comes a severe cooling, rigorous rules, austere interiors with minimal furniture, small closed rooms and more detail shots of faces. The family farce turns into a claustrophobic psychological horror film culminating in an extremely unpleasant scene in which Alexander is punished for letting his imagination run riot and taking the liberty of doing that of which Bergman’s autobiographical last will and testament is a celebration – telling a (fictional) story. There follows a magical scene of rescuing children, who at one moment appear to be in two places at the same time. Our willing to believe fiction (suspension of disbelief) is equally as important as fiction itself, those little worlds into which we can escape. The rules of the hitherto more or less realistic fictional world simply had to be broken in order for the children to escape the bishop and for the story to continue. Either accept it or let it be. Great art is born of great pain and the restriction of choice thus paradoxically stimulates Alexander’s imagination, which is his last refuge and on whose understanding and acceptance the third and most imaginative act of the film is focused. If Bergman truly excelled at anything, it was mise-en-scène direction. Few films prove this as convincingly as Fanny and Alexander, in which he captivatingly summed up the ideas and stylistic processes of his life’s work (even though the protagonists are children, the theme of aging and dying also emerges). The crowning work of a master at the peak of his powers. 90% ()


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English "The little guy is giving kisses like a big man!" It started out pretty good, Gustav Adolf was first only into women, but then... This needs to be watched at least as a series with a longer break because otherwise, it is impossible to tolerate the absence of the soundtrack, which turns the viewing experience literally into misery. Otherwise, of course, it's more palatable to regular Bergman viewers; they find their favorite themes (religion, interpersonal relationships, gender), and familiar faces and can easily reflect on the development of Swedish society over the last century. As a solitary film and a first encounter with Bergman, I don't recommend it (not least because this film was the one that cemented that strange era of art films in cheap book stores). ()

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