Saturday, November 11, 2006

fanny and alexander

Pacific Cinematheque
Saturday, December 23 – 7:30 pm
Wednesday, December 27 – 7:30 pm
Friday, December 29 – 7:30 pm

I've got a bit of a chip on my shoulder about Ingmar Bergman. Sure he gets the obligatory name-check when people talk spiritual film, but Ingmar's world (at least, starting around 1960) is more God-haunted than God-blest, and since you only get to haunt stuff once you're dead, what's that tell you? Something about his dad, I'm thinking.

FANNY & ALEXANDER at least leaves behind the pervasive angst (though of course the baddie is a minister) and celebrates not only life but also the theatre. So I'm down with that.
Cinematheque: "An enchanting, life-affirming, celebratory evocation of childhood and the magic of theatre, Bergman's wonderful Fanny and Alexander won four Academy Awards, including the Swedish master's third Oscar for Best Foreign Film, and Sven Nykvist's second for Best Cinematography (the first was for Bergman's Cries and Whispers ). Fanny and Alexander begins during Christmas 1907, with ten-year-old Alexander and younger sister Fanny enjoying the warmth and good humour of their ebullient, eccentric, and prosperous extended family. Their lives will soon take a less happy turn, however, with the death of their actor father and the remarriage of their mother to a strict, puritanical Protestant minister. Bergman's semi-autobiographical tale is shot in glowing images by long-time collaborator Nykvist, who effectively contrasts the rich, warm hues of the children's old environment with the stark coldness of their new stepfather's home, and whose snow-bound exteriors capture the landscapes of provincial Sweden with Brueghellian expertise. Fanny and Alexander is also something of a summation and compendium of Bergman's career in the cinema, touching on many of his characteristic themes, and replete with references to many of his other works. It may also be Bergman's most opulent and optimistic film — something of a surprise, perhaps, from a director whose work has long been synonymous with Scandinavian austerity and angst. "A sustained triumph . . .For those who have kept faith with Bergman it is an inexpressible relief to find that despair has not gained the upper hand" ( Sight and Sound ). Colour, 35mm, in Swedish with English subtitles. 189 mins."

No comments: