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FANNY AND ALEXANDER

Director: INGMAR BERGMAN

SWEDEN-FRANCE-WEST GERMANY • 1982 • SUBTITLED • COLOUR • 188 MIN


THERE ARE FEW FILMS BETTER THAN FANNY AND ALEXANDER WHEN IT COMES TO PAYING TRIBUTE TO THE ENORMOUS BODY OF WORK MADE BY THE LATE SWEDISH DIRECTOR INGMAR BERGMAN.
This was not Bergman’s last great film (that honour goes to Saraband), but it provides a wonderful gloss on a lifetime’s obsessions. First and foremost, it’s about Bergman’s recollections of childhood. Set in 1910, it traces the joys and sorrows of the Ekdahl family in the town of Uppsala (the film-maker’s birthplace). At first the story is chiefly about this large theatrical family and everything is fairly idyllic. But Bergman soon introduces the local bishop, a zealot who marries one of the Ekdahl women and incarcerates her children Fanny and Alexander 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. Downright sentimental by Bergman’s usual standards, this is still a magical film in which all the old master’s ghosts appear to be laid to rest.—Peter Walsh.

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