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Fanny and Alexander

We’re opening this tribute to Bergman with one of his greatest and last films as director because it provides a wonderful summation of the director’s large body of work. Fanny and Alexander pays affectionate tribute to Bergman’s recollection of childhood. Set in 1910, it traces the joys and sorrows of the Ekdahl family in the town of Uppsala. Helena Ekdahl is a widow who is now head of the family and has turned over the running of the local theatre to a younger family member. At first the story is chiefly about the Ekdahls and their troupe of actors and everything is fairly idyllic. But Bergman then 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. From its spectacular Christmas celebrations at the start, Fanny and Alexander is a magical film in which all the old Berman’s ghosts appear to be laid to rest. Presenting a rich tapestry of family life as observed through its chief child protagonist, the film is a stunning reminder of the director’s story-telling gifts and the richness of his visual sense.
1982.
English subtitles.
Colour.
188 mins.

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