Fanny And Alexander
Director Ingmar Bergman had intended FANNY AND ALEXANDER to be his final theatrical film and a summing-up of sorts of his entire cinematic career. (It was followed by 1984's AFTER THE REHEARSAL, which was also made for Swedish television and subsequently released theatrically abroad.) FANNY AND ALEXANDER is the story of two children belonging to a wealthy, extensive theatrical family in provincial Sweden in the early years of the 20th century--10-year-old Alexander (Bertil Guve) and his younger sister, Fanny (Pernilla Alwin). When their father dies unexpectedly during a performance and their mother decides to remarry, the children are forced to relocate to the austere (and possibly haunted) home of their stern and rather coldhearted stepfather, Bishop Vergerus (Jan Malmsjo). A means of escape is eventually provided by Isak Jacobi (Erland Josephson), a longtime friend of the Ekdahl family's who seems to possess magical powers. In this somewhat autobiographical movie--which was filmed in the director's hometown of Uppsala--the gifted, precocious Alexander is a stand-in for Bergman himself, who had a problematic relationship with his own father, a strict clergyman. At once festive, spooky, and bawdy--and uncharacteristically life-affirming--FANNY AND ALEXANDER is one of Bergman's most universally appealing and accessible works.