Daily Viewing. "Fanny and Alexander: Prologue"

The Daily

"It's hard to think about the films of Ingmar Bergman in the wake of something so tremendously humanistic and so irrepressibly joyful, despite horror both realistic and fantastic strewn among the emotional and physical landscape, as Fanny and Alexander," writes Chris Cabin in Slant. "The ghosts that hide, shake, and scream out in Persona and Hour of the Wolf, the ink-black blood relations of The Silence and Through a Glass Darkly, even the cherubic perversions of Smiles of a Summer Night don't so much burn or wash away, but rather seem like snapshots from what would become the film of Bergman's life. For in this case, we are, to be perfectly frank, speaking of one of the towering visions of cinema, one of those masterpieces that plainly presents itself as a work that transcends even the long career of a great artist." Fanny and Alexander (1982) is out on Blu-ray and DVD this week "in an expectedly extensive and beautiful package from Criterion."

The link to the "Prologue" comes via Coudal Partners, who also remind us of Paul Arthur's 2004 piece on one of the extras, pieced together (from footage shot by Arne Carlsson) by Bergman himself. We have to keep in mind that Bergman had convinced himself and everyone else that Fanny would be his last film. "[I]n most respects, The Making of Fanny and Alexander is a singular entry in Bergman's filmography. Where conventional movie supplements are driven by purely commercial considerations, here, a self-conscious treatment of the relationship between cast and crew reflects the valedictory nature of the original fiction, becoming an occasion not only to document an artist's last fling behind the camera but also to meditate on core aesthetic principles."

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