Saturday, July 16, 2005

Fanny and Alexander (Theatrical Version)

1982 Oscar Winner Best Foreign Language Film

Dir: Ingmar Bergman

Absolutely brilliant examination of a family in transition after the death of the title characters' father. The mother remarries, and the children end up in a world filled with austerity and coldness. Semi auto-biographical, Fanny and Alexander is a monumental achievment in observation of familial relationships.

The movie feels very much like a play or novel, as all of Bergman's stuff that I have seen does. The prose is dense, philosophical, and psychologically complex. The themes are grand, with unflinching examinations of religion, death, art, fidelity and love, and raising children. This movie is a lot like watching a Dostoevsky novel or Checkov play being faithfully put on the screen. This is a truncated version of a five hour Swedish television mini-series that is no doubt well worth your time.

I have now seen five Bergman films, including the Seventh Seal and the Trilogy of Faith, and his movies get even better in my mind after reflection. The intelligence of his movies is rivaled only by Kubrick, and his unrelenting examination of these big themes leave lasting impressions. I am ready to elevate him into the "greatest director of all time" discussion, and will actively seek out more of his movies.