×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Fanny Och Alexander

Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander emerges as a sumptuously produced period piece that is also a rich tapestry of childhood memoirs and moods, fear and fancy, employing all the manners and means of the best of cinematic theatrical from high and low comedy to darkest tragedy with detours into the gothic, the ghostly and the gruesome.

With:
Gunn Wallgren Allan Edwall Ewa Froling Bertil Guve Pernilla Allwin Jarl Kulle

Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander emerges as a sumptuously produced period piece that is also a rich tapestry of childhood memoirs and moods, fear and fancy, employing all the manners and means of the best of cinematic theatrical from high and low comedy to darkest tragedy with detours into the gothic, the ghostly and the gruesome.

Fanny and Alexander just simply has everything to make it the Bergman feature film that could be remembered longest and most fondly by general audiences when his other, more anguished works, are forgotten by all but the initiated. The five-hour TV version, divided into four parts of uneven length, will thrill even larger audiences.

The well-to-do Ekdahl family in the university city of Uppsala has come together in the widow/grandmother Helena’s house to celebrate Christmas of 1907. Helena (Gunn Wallgren) is a strong-willed but generous woman. She does worry, however, about her theater manager-actor son Oscar (Allan Edwall) who works too hard and is a pretty bad actor, but a good husband for Emilie (Ewa Froling) and father for their two young children Fanny and Alexander.

The shadows begin to take over when the actor dies and Emilie marries the Uppsala bishop Edvard Vergerus (Jan Malmsjo) who reveals himself to be a sadistic tyrant under his benign surface. The children are imprisoned in an attic, but smuggled to freedom by old Isak (Erland Josephson), a Jewish antique dealer friend of the Ekdahl family.

Fanny and Alexander combines elegance with intimacy. Its moments of shock are surprisingly subdued (the burning to death of the bishop has a dream-like quality), and its obvious nostalgia is tempered with the softest irony and the saltiness of home truths.

The playing throughout reflects the mood of a real-life film family reunion that Bergman’s homecoming to Sweden has been [after a period of self-exile in Munich, following a row with Sweden’s tax authorities in 1976]. The two children perform with quiet authority, totally devoid of any cuteness or lapses into obvious acting. All adult roles are played with a blend of gusto and professionalism.

1982: Best Foreign Language Film

Fanny Och Alexander

Sweden - Germany - France

Production: Swedish Film Institute/STV1/Personafilm/Gaumon. Director Ingmar Bergman; Producer Jorn Donner (exec.); Screenplay Ingmar Bergman; Camera Sven Nykvist; Editor Sylvia Ingemarsson; Music Daniel Bell; Art Director Anna Asp

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1982. Running time: 188 MIN.

With: Gunn Wallgren Allan Edwall Ewa Froling Bertil Guve Pernilla Allwin Jarl Kulle

More Film

  • Chris Evans attends the "Lobby Hero"

    Chris Evans' Action Film 'The Red Sea Diving Resort' Bought by Netflix

    Netflix has bought global rights, excluding China, to Chris Evans’ action-thriller “The Red Sea Diving Resort” for release later this year. Haley Bennett, Alessandro Nivola, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michiel Huisman, Greg Kinnear, and Ben Kingsley also star. “The Red Sea Diving Resort” is directed by “Homeland” creator Gideon Raff from his own script. Raff had [...]

  • 'Star Wars Episode IX' Has Officially

    'Star Wars Episode IX' Has Officially Wrapped

    The end is nigh! Filming for “Star Wars Episode IX” has officially wrapped, bringing an end to a franchise that has spanned more than 40 years and eight films. Director J.J. Abrams confirmed the news Friday tweeting, “It feels impossible, but today wrapped photography on ‘Episode IX.’ There is no adequate way to thank this [...]

  • Ben Affleck Batman

    Ben Affleck Explains Why He's Done Playing Batman: 'I Couldn't Crack It'

    Ben Affleck is hanging up his cape and saying goodbye to Batman. In an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Thursday, the actor explained why he will not be returning as the Caped Crusader in the 2021 film “The Batman,” to be written and directed by Matt Reeves. Affleck is retiring from the role after playing [...]

  • 'Great Bear Rainforest' Review

    Film Review: 'Great Bear Rainforest'

    Imax documentaries take us into the wilderness in ways we could only ever dream of experiencing in person, inviting us to marvel at the majesty of mother nature. Director Ian McAllister’s “Great Bear Rainforest” journeys deep into a remote, relatively untouched landscape where crystal clear lakes mirror the mountains and misty, mossy cedar forests tower [...]

  • Seu Jorge, director Wagner Moura, Bella

    Makers of Berlin Competition Title 'Marighella' Worry About Distribution at Home

    Worried that growing political tension in Brazil may hamper the domestic release of “Marighella,” Wagner Moura’s directorial debut about a leftist revolutionary, the movie’s producers may seek to crowd-fund its distribution independently. “We are going to fight for it,” producer Andrea Barata Ribeiro said ahead of the film’s world premiere at the Berlinale on Friday. [...]

  • Isle of Dogs

    ‘Isle of Dogs’ Called for a Thousand Sophisticated Puppets

    Andy Gent says it was clear as soon as he read Wes Anderson’s script for “Isle of Dogs” that the project was very ambitious. It just took a while to understand exactly how ambitious. For example, it was originally estimated the animated movie would require between 300 and 400 puppets, the same number needed for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content