Fanny och Alexander

I wanted to say a few words about one the my favorite movies, Fanny & Alexander by Ingmar Bergman.

To be very clear, you don’t have to have seen Bergman movies or an expert in Art house cinema to enjoy this masterpiece.  I have recommended this movie to many people, they have come back to me and thanked me profusely.  As you might, if you give this movie a chance.

This is the directors “final” film.  It is in quotations because generally, people consider it to be his last.  At the time he made it plain this was to be his last as well.  Though he did direct several other television movies.  I don’t personally consider this to be the last, he still worked years…years is an understatement, he worked decades after this movie.

The Ekdahl Family

The Ekdahl Family

This is the closest thing to a living book I have ever seen.  Not only is it literally structured like a book, but it actually feels like one, in a positive sense.  The original cut (and far superior version) of this movie clocks in at  312 minutes.  Never at one moment does it feel like it.

Though named Fanny & Alexander, it is the peripheral characters that take center stage.  We see a glimpse in the life of the Ekdahl family.  Though of course centered around Alexander, who I assume is Bergman personified, we see the dramatic, horrific, heart breaking, funny and happy life events of all these characters.

Like many previous Bergman movies, there is an element of fantasy involved as well.  Because it is centered around Alexander, and boy of 12 or 13, fantasy is predominant in the mind of a young boy.  There are scenes that outright scary.

Below is a one of the coolest scenes in the movie, if you are patient, you will see what I mean by fantasy.  It also happens to be one the most beautiful (and trippy) scenes Berman has ever made, and quite possibly in film.

If you are impatient, skip to 7:16 to see the scene.

A lot of what is said in done in this movie is quite harsh and brutal, at times,  Arguments between couples make you wince and cringe.  The laughs are genuine and heartfelt.  The indignation felt by a character roils the blood.  The depth of understanding of character and people is extraordinary.  Though Bergman is the master at character studies.

This is his masterpiece through and through.  It completely encapsulates everything Bergman was about.  It brings together all his understanding and expertise of film.  Nothing has quite effected me like this movie.  This is truly one of the best film experiences one could have, if willing to be patient and let it wash over you.  (Isn’t that a death metaphor?)

Watch it!  Thank me later!




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