What a magical and sensitive story! How many great themes to rethink of appear afterwords, including the will to stay honest to oneself, the importance of keeping ones principles and values, defending them in times of need, etc. Imagination plays here an important role through the eyes of the observing children - Fanny and Alexander - who more than anyone else embody sight-fulness and comprehension.
Bergman's boyhood fantasies lived out through the imaginative and rebellious Alexander, I take it -from his brutal escape from a stern and abusive father to finding a home in (and actually being from) a liberal and sexually promiscuous family. Repetitive with his prior works.
A meandering film that misses opportunities.I want to know about Oscar and his relationship with his wife & children.I want to see more of the Bishop's treatment of Emilie.And did we need so much about the superfluous story of the uncle & the maid? And so on.Is this a family chronicle, a story about childhood fantasy or a tale of tyranny?Maybe the longer version is more coherent than this one.Wonderful mise-en-scene.
As a family saga this is a highly gripping due to the character details and excellent ensemble. It is also a 100% realistic story, especially since it's semi-autobiographical on Ingmar Bergman's behalf. The film has also one of the best priest villains that has ever been on screen, BUT the longer TV miniseries version tis the true way to really embrace it even if this film is an epic even in it's shortened state.
I forgot how much this feels like a fairy tale but also how much it feels like an ode to storytelling. Alexander/Bergman use stories to escape the oppressive hand of a patriarch, and this late masterpiece — as intimate and affecting as all of Bergman’s masterpieces — is indicative of an overwhelming love for all things human: language, myth, and a childlike reverence for the fantastical.
Flits half-seen through a curious crawl-space. Incredibly vivid, sometimes almost grotesquely so. A dream of Dickens or Woolf's 'To The Lighthouse' misnarrated by a child. Alexander is a curious little boy but I've never felt so connected to a child protagonist. I suspect the the full 5-hour version will complete the revelation offered here (since I especially love Bergman's dream sequences!)
Just when I thought I'd seen Bergman's best, I see this and shake my head in wonder. How can one man have such illumination inside him and so many profound thoughts? This feels like one of his most personal and accessible films to me. A fight between familial love and that hard love often carried by religion and the church. A must watch for Bergman fans, and a clear evocation of his demons.
From the opening scenes, the framing and visual direction is masterful. What colours! A sprawling family saga which is perfectly performed and observed - especially a heart wrenching Alexander and a chilling turn from the Bishop. A film which understands that reality is subjective, especially when it comes to children who are made to suffer.
Yet another fantastic film from a director who is now one of my firm favourites. This mixes scenes of adult drama with a number of scenes showing the way the two main children are viewing the people and events around them. Slow, dream-like on numerous occasions, and riveting.