A young woman, Karin, has recently returned to the family island after spending some time in a mental hospital. On the island with her is her lonely brother and kind, but increasingly ... See full summary »
Max von Sydow
"The Silence" is about the emotional distance between two sisters. The younger one is still attractive enough to pick up a lover in a strange city. The older one -- even though she is very ... See full summary »
It's the early twentieth century Sweden. Adolescent siblings Alexander and Fanny Ekdahl lead a relatively joyous and exuberant life with their well-off extended paternal family, led by the family matriarch, their grandmother, Helena Ekdahl. The openness of the family culture is exemplified by Helena's now deceased husband ending up becoming best friends with one of her lovers, a Jewish puppet maker named Isak Jacobi, and their Uncle Gustav Adolf's open liaison with one of the family maids, Maj, who everyone in the family adores, even Gustav Adolf's wife, Alma. Between the siblings, Alexander in particular has inherited the family's love of storytelling, his parents and his grandmother who are actors and who manage their own theater. Things change for Alexander and Fanny when their father, Oscar, dies shortly after Christmas 1907. Although she truly does believe she loves him, the children's mother, Emilie, decides to marry Bishop Edvard Vergérus, who she first met as the officiate at ... Written by
At the end of the film when Emily introduces the idea to Helena that she wants to stage August Strindberg's brand new play "A Dream Play" and that she wishes for Helena to act with her in it, Helena is pretty pessimistic and reluctant about the whole idea and on the mention of Strindberg exclaims: "Oh no... that dreadful woman-hater!". This is somewhat of an in-joke from Bergman towards actress Gunn Wållgren (who portrays grandmother Helena): Gunn Wållgren is first of all well-known as one of Sweden's foremost Strindberg-interpretors ever and secondly; her most successful and praised part on stage was actually the part of Indra's Daughter in "A Dream Play" (a play and a part the actress also loved very much). Gunn Wållgren later in the final scene also recites the first lines of the play's prologue to Alexander. See more »
Among the Christmas decorations in the Ekdahl house, there is a garland of miniature flags of Scandinavian countries, including the Finnish flag. The Finnish flag was in fact only designed and adopted after Finnish independence in 1917, a decade after the events of the film. See more »
You could call this my opinion of Bergman's Fanny and Alexander...as opposed to a review. I really don't feel the need in describing or summarizing this film. Any review, as I see it, would be pointless. Words just can't convey what makes a truly great movie as good as it is. The best "review" I could give Fanny and Alexander is to just see the damned thing. If you can't sit through it, so be it. But, those who are willing to give it their attention, I promise, will be rewarded continuously through the film's duration. Anyone who sits through the entire film, especially the full-length version, I think, will find it difficult to say that they were bored. More than likely, they will find it easy to say, "That was a damned good movie." I, myself, was surprised. Previous to seeing F&A, I had never seen a film quite this long. I'm glad I did. I'll also throw this in: most film buffs, I think it's safe to say, will always consider Bergman to be the master of gloom. This may be true, but I think Fanny and Alexander proves beyond any doubt that his ability to express the joy that exists in life is every bit as great, and truly refreshing.
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