Two estranged sisters, Ester and Anna, and Anna's 10-year-old son travel to the Central European country on the verge of war. Ester becomes seriously ill and the three of them move into a hotel in a small town called Timoka.
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 movie is set around 1905, as can be seen from the "contract" that Gustav Adolf gave Maj early in the movie, but Edvard tells Emilie that he heard that the universe is expanding. Slipher discovered the red shifts in some nebulae/galaxies in 1912, an observation that suggests that these objects are moving away from us; Hubble's law of the expanding universe was published in 1929; and the big bang theory become popular in the 1950s. See more »
This film could never have been made in the United States. I realize when it was made Bergman had been around for a long time and had his own clout but it still has too much of a philosophical slant to be mainstream here. This film is amazing. The first hour moves at a slow pace but it really sets up the rest of the movie well and then it really picks up. The cinematography is breathtaking and while this story makes you think a lot you don't feel ambivalent towards the characters through the rest of the first film after having been slowly introduced to all the characters you have a certain identifcation that is purely emotional and blends wonderfully with the other aspects of the film. It's truly great and should be considered one of Bergman's best works.
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