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Thursday, February 5, 2015

291 of 1001 Movies: Fanny and Alexander (1983)

I was unsure of what I would be embarking on when I rented Fanny and Alexander from Swedish director, Ingmar Bergman. This autobiographical tale gives us the view of an adult world, mostly through the eyes of a child, and it's disturbing to say in the least what the experience is. It appears to be almost eventless on the service, but the deeper layers of mental abuse are frightening.

Summary: Fanny and Alexander's family is close, and it is captured by opening with a scene of the family at Christmas. Fun is of most importance when they are together, but apart much of the family is having their own struggles. Whether is finance, promiscuity, or working too hard everyone is going through something. After Fanny and Alexander's father dies they are spurred into a completely opposite direction. Their mother is taken away from the theater she works for, and marries a priest who is overbearing and imposing. The children's life is also drastically changed, and it seems almost unimaginable to them all how much this will affect them.

The film is intriguing because it combines different elements of what people experienced in their lives, including the actors to make a film that is telling many tales, but what takes the forefront is the one about Fanny and Alexander.

I thought everyone did good in their portrayals of their roles. No one had to over express to make you feel what they were feeling, even the kids. The movie seems lighthearted at first with serious undertones. I do wonder about the other dynamic in the families we didn't seem to return to like the one uncle in financial troubles with the theater company? I felt everyone's story and voice was given proper attention though.

This movie in it's own way has a timeless quality too. The shots and color are vivid, yet the pale tones keep it only settled to the time it's based in. It doesn't feel like you're watching an 80's movie.

The story becomes more surreal as the story moves on, and I think this also depicts the child mind of Alexander well, and how he is perceiving these serious issues. You ask about the reality of the ghosts he sees, and you wonder about the encounter he had with Ismael more in an adult way than how maybe his imagination was taking it in?

Fanny and Alexander is an arthouse movie, and if you're a lover of those movies then this is one to watch. The story is a hard one to forget, and you can't help but question the lines of right and wrong with this one.


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