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
The part of Bishop Edvard Vergérus was written by Ingmar Bergman with Max von Sydow in mind. When the screenplay was completed, von Sydow was contacted about playing the role, which would have been his first in a Bergman film since The Touch (1971). Von Sydow was willing and, in fact, very excited about playing the role. However, Bergman was not aware of this, since von Sydow was in Los Angeles at the time, and could only be reached through his agent who, acting in what he perceived as von Sydow's interest, told Bergman and his producers that von Sydow would only play the role if he could have a percentage of the film's profits, in addition to his salary. The producers, already stretched to their financial limits, of course balked, and told the agent that, sadly, there could be no such compromise, and began looking for other actors to play the pivotal part. By the time von Sydow had learned why his beloved role had been taken from him, Jan Malmsjö had already been cast as the Bishop, and von Sydow lost his chance to star in what would later be known to be Bergman's "last film" (although he would play key roles in The Best Intentions (1992) and Private Confessions (1996), both written by Bergman). Von Sydow was furious about the incident, and, by certain accounts, still harbours a bitter grudge about it to this day. See more »
In the theatre scene, early in the movie, Georg Årlin, who plays a high ranking military man, is seen whispering with a person sitting next to him. The next shot shows other people talking, and then Årlin is seen behind them at the left corner, in conversation with no one, staring into space in front of him. See more »
"...Anything can happen, anything is possible. Time and space do not exist..."
"Fanny and Alexander" (1982) was announced at the time of its release as Ingmar Bergman's swan song, his last film for the big screen. It is his most optimistic and enchanting blend of romance, tragedy, comedy, fantasy, and mysticism. Set in Sweden in the beginning of the 20th century, the film follows the lives and adventures of two children, brother and sister Fanny and Alexander Edkahl.
I love Bergman in every mood and in every genre - I love him dark, bleak, harrowing ("Shame"), mysterious ("Persona"), merciless and devastating ("Scenes from a Marriage, "Face to Face", "Autumn Sonata). I love his lighter, smiling side ("Wild Strawberries", "Smiles of a Summer Night). Even for a master of Bergman's powerful talent, "Fanny and Alexander" is extraordinary - a profound film which is also one of his most accessible works.
Pablo Picasso said once, "When I was 9 years old, I could paint like Rafael; as an adult, all my life I tried to learn how to paint like a child". In his final film, one of the greatest masters of dark and sometimes morose psychological studies looks at the world with a child's eye. The words he chose to finish his film with reflect the hope, the happiness and the magic that can be fully felt only in one's childhood: "...Anything can happen, anything is possible. Time and space do not exist. ..On a flimsy ground of reality, imagination spins out and waves new patterns." --- August Strindberg's introductory notes for A Dream Play.
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