Fanny & Alexander (Criterion Collection) (5 Discs) (S) (Widescreen) product details page

Fanny & Alexander (Criterion Collection) (5 Discs) (S) (Widescreen)

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As Ingmar Bergman's pentultimate theatrical feature, this semi-autobiographical tale of two young children in turn-of-the-century Sweden is a distillation of a six-hour TV miniseries, which the director turned into a 3-hour plus movie. The last feature film that Bergman directed, it is a story seen through a child's eyes. The potent symbolism and profound melancholy that run through most of Bergman's work is evidenced here, but it is balanced by scenes of great sensual pleasure (a true delight, given Bergman's reputation for dourness) and emotional joy. The youthful point-of-view encourages the audience to adopt a naive simplicity while viewing the film, resulting in more profound mood swings as the tale follows the downward spiral of the protagonists' lives after their beloved poppa Oskar dies. Bergman's notoriously determined pacing works particularly well in evoking the childrens' dread in the Bishop's stultifying Puritanical household. The large ensemble cast is uniformly superb, with the two children (Bertil Guve and Pernilla Allwin) a heartbreakingly sweet touchstone for our emotions. This is one of Bergman's most impressive achievements, and probably his most popular and accessible film, as it examines his familiar issues of psychological torment and spiritual confusion in a humanistic and life-affirming context. Nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, Fanny and Alexander took home four trophies, including Best Foreign Language Film, Best Cinematography for Bergman's longtime collaborator Sven Nykvist, Best Art Direction, and Best Costume Design. Dan Jardine, All Movie Guide