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FANNY AND ALEXANDER

Director: INGMAR BERGMAN

188 mins, Sweden, 1982, Digital, Subtitled

One of Ingmar Bergman’s greatest and last films, Fanny and Alexander provides a wonderful summation of the director’s large body of work and is a stunning reminder of his storytelling gifts and rich visual sense. Set in 1910, it traces the joys and sorrows of the Ekdahl family in the town of Uppsala (Bergman’s birthplace). At first the story is chiefly about this large theatrical family, but Bergman soon introduces the local bishop, a zealot who marries one of the Ekdahl women and incarcerates her children in the dreary church mansion. Those stalwart pillars of Bergman’s world, church and theatre, collide in headlong opposition, the one representing dignity and repression, the other hedonism and generosity.

From its spectacular Christmas celebrations at the start, Fanny and Alexander is a magical film in which all of Bergman’s old ghosts are laid to rest.

Notes by David O’Mahony

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