Steering away from the pain, neuroses, and heavy metaphysical questions showcased in his earlier work, Ingmar Bergman created this film based on childhood memories of the turn of the century.
FANNY AND ALEXANDER begins with the Ekdahl family's Christmas celebration, their large home serving as the meeting place for a merry celebration by family members and servants who dance about heedless of social constraints. Late that night, ten-year-old Alexander (Bertil Guve) is tucked in by the
buxom maid, who apologizes for being unable to spend the night with him because she has other obligations--namely bedding down with his kindly Uncle Carl (Boerje Ahlstedt), a married man with children of his own, whose wise wife graciously tolerates his infidelities. Alexander's charmed life is
suddenly shattered when his actor-manager father suffers a heart attack and dies, leaving the widow Ekdahl (Ewa Froeling) to be calmed by an understanding bishop (Jan Malmsjoe) whom she eventually marries. She takes her two children, Fanny (Pernilla Allwin) and Alexander, away from their warm
family into the cold, strict world of the clergyman.
Not only does Bergman manage in FANNY AND ALEXANDER to capture the flavor and atmosphere of a Swedish town circa 1907, he also expertly reveals events as seen through the eyes of a child and, without any wordy dissertations on doctrines, makes a powerful statement against religious zealotry. The
results are quite frightening and far superior to the lengthy gloom and doom that fill many earlier Bergman films. A magical movie, FANNY AND ALEXANDER is likely to be the achievement for which Bergman will be most remembered. leave a comment