Thursday, June 16, 2011


(and, fanny)

Yep, I'm running just a *tad* late with this one--sorry!

Clearly Fanny needed her own film. Or maybe the long version gives her more time? Apparently the long version is five hours and 12 minutes.

The small negatives: 1. It did feel like 3 hours and 9 minutes to me (well, ok 6 minutes since I didn't watch the 3 minutes of credits). But now I'm sort of insanely curious about what's in that other 2 hours and 3 minutes. 2. It did somehow feel vaguely like a Woody Allen film but not in a way I can identify (so, the negative is not only that I'm not a fan of Allen but my inability to identify the similarity). Perhaps the pacing is part of it. I frequently feel like Allen films are super loooooooooooooooooooong.

But, overall, I liked the film quite a bit. I've not seen any other Bergman films but the book will have us watch ten, Franny and Alexander being the most recent; Smiles of a Summer Night, The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light, Persona, Shame, Hour of the Wolf, and Cries and Whispers are the other nine.

Perhaps what I liked best about the film is that it reminded me of Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits which is a favorite book (the movie not at all). The large family with secrets, magic that pops up when needed, ghosts . . . ok, so that's all of magical realism really. Maybe it was the matriarch that called House to mind.

I'm curious about two things: what actress does Emilie remind me of (looks-wise)? And what happened to Carl?

So, consulting the oracle:
It seems that the authors are madly deeply darkly in love with Bergman. Not only do we have a whopping ten films (which is more than a fourth of his eligible oeuvre) but the first line of the entry says, "Bergman's large body of work is so distinctive that it is frequently spoofed by comedians as well as imitated and cited by lesser filmmakers" . . . so NO one is on par with Bergman according to 1001, it seems (even though Howard Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock both have more films on the list).

The authors contend, "Bergman's dreamy, allegorical films present life as it is rather than how we wish it would be." So, I can make people burst into flames? And live in a ginormous fancy house and have loads of parties. Good to know. Later, however, the authors say the film is "part mystical fairy tale" and that it has "a dreamy sense of the unreal" so perhaps I can't make people burst into flames and live in a ginormous fancy party house. Damn.

And, then. Oh, dear. Apparently Fanny and Alexander is "his most accessible movie." *Sigh* Why does "must see" often translate to "not accessible"?

So, more or less, we should watch the film because it's Bergman and it's magical realist. Because I liked this one, I'll go along with that. Seem fair, cohort?


  1. Well, it seems that the editors are a little shaky on the precise relationship between an allegory and real life, but okay. And yeah, I liked it, and think it's worth seeing because it's a Bergman. But I bet people who LOVE it do so because they're already obsessed with IB. If Joe Schmoe made this movie, I don't see it getting the best Foreign Language Oscar. It's just fine and good enough, but I wasn't exactly blown away by the winds of genius.

  2. I think it's Best Foreign Language Oscar may be the result of the films it was up against: two dance movies, one with a summary not in English on imdb, and a female actress/director's 3rd film.

    But, it was also nominated for several other things, including Best Director and Best Writing/Screenplay but Bergman was beaten by Brooks for Terms of Endearment and Foote for Tender Mercies. Bergman never won an Oscar, save the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 71.