Fanny and Alexander (1983) Sweden, France, West Germany
Fanny and Alexander Image Cover
Additional Images
Director:Ingmar Bergman
Producer:Jörn Donner
Writer:Ingmar Bergman
Date Added:2006-04-08
Purchased On:2006-08-04
Awards:Won 4 Oscars, Another 18 wins & 7 nominations
Picture Format:Widescreen
Aspect Ratio:1.66:1
Sound:Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
Languages:English, German, Swedish, Yiddish
Features:Box set
Ingmar Bergman  ...  (Director)
Ingmar Bergman  ...  (Writer)
Allan Edwall  ...  Ekdahlska huset - Oscar Ekdahl
Bergman Ingmar  ...  
Pernilla Allwin  ...  Ekdahlska huset - Fanny Ekdahl
Bertil Guve  ...  Ekdahlska huset - Alexander Ekdahl
Börje Ahlstedt  ...  Ekdahlska huset - Carl Ekdahl
Ewa Fröling  ...  Ekdahlska huset - Emilie Ekdahl
Gunn Wållgren  ...  Ekdahlska huset - Helena Ekdahl
Jarl Kulle  ...  Ekdahlska huset - Gustav Adolf Ekdahl
Jan Malmsjö  ...  Biskopsgården - Bishop Edvard Vergerus
Christina Schollin  ...  Ekdahlska huset - Lydia Ekdahl
Kerstin Tidelius  ...  Biskopsgården - Henrietta Vergerus
Emelie Werkö  ...  Ekdahlska huset - Jenny Ekdahl
Marianne Aminoff  ...  Biskopsgården - Blenda Vergérus
Sonya Hedenbratt  ...  Ekdahlska huset - Aunt Emma
Svea Holst  ...  Ekdahlska huset - Miss Ester
Kristina Adolphson  ...  Ekdahlska huset - Siri
Kristian Almgren  ...  Putte Ekdahl - Ekdahlska huset
Carl Billquist  ...  Police Superintendent Jespersson - Ekdahlska huset
Axel Düberg  ...  Witness to Bishop's death - Ekdahlska huset
Siv Ericks  ...  Alida - Ekdahlska huset
Patricia Gélin  ...  Statue - Ekdahlska huset (as Patricia Gelin)
Majlis Granlund  ...  Miss Vega - Ekdahlska huset
Maria Granlund  ...  Petra Ekdahl - Ekdahlska huset
Eva von Hanno  ...  Berta - Ekdahlska huset
Summary: It was instantly acclaimed the crowning masterwork of Ingmar Bergman's career, and time has not dimmed the Olympian status of Fanny and Alexander. Bergman drew upon memories of his own childhood for this portrait of the Ekdahls, the upper-class Swedish family whose celebrations and tribulations are seen through the eyes of 10-year-old Alexander (Bertil Guve). The world of the theater, of puppet shows and magic lanterns, does battle in this scenario with the cold realities of the palace of the bishop--a man whose influence over Alexander's mother gives the movie the stark outlines of a fairy tale.
As for the Criterion five-disc DVD: This may be the most beautiful DVD release ever devoted to a single film. The original 188-minute international release is here, of course, in all its original glory. (It won four Oscars: foreign language film, costumes, art direction/set decoration, and cinematography--the last to longtime Bergman collaborator Sven Nykvist.) An audio commentary by Peter Cowie gives useful background.
That film was carved out of Bergman's preferred 312-minute version, telecast on Swedish TV and included here. While the shorter cut remains a wonderful movie, and complete unto itself, the five-hour film is a deep, luxurious expansion. There is more of the Christmas Eve party that begins the film, more of the theater, more of Alexander's imagination. Especially meaningful is a long sequence between Fanny and Alexander and their doomed father, as he demonstrates the nature of storytelling with a simple chair.
Also here is The Making of Fanny and Alexander, Bergman's feature-length self-portrait, and a fascinating look at the rapt attention he bestows on actors and camera. DVD extras include a penetrating hourlong TV interview Bergman gave in 1984, and a 40-minute documentary shot in 2004 with reminiscences from cast and crew (including actors Guve, Pernilla August, and Erland Josephson). A handsome booklet includes essays by Rick Moody and Paul Arthur, and one disc is made up of pithy introductions shot by Bergman in 2003, for 11 of his classics, plus a sampling of trailers. Fanny and Alexander was Bergman's final theatrical film, though he has gone right on making TV movies and writing screenplays. This is a fitting treatment of his triumph. --Robert Horton