Film Series : Bergman 100

Fanny And Alexander (TV version)

Fanny och Alexander

1982, Ingmar Bergman, Sweden, 320 min. With Bertil Guve, Kristina Adolphson, Ewa Fröling, Jan Malmsö.

Show Times

  • Sat, Sep 15th 1:30pm

"Big, exciting, ambitious…It's a film for all seasons." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Bergman announced that FANNY AND ALEXANDER would be his last film, and, although that did not turn out to be quite accurate, it is in many respects the crowning glory of his career. Like SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE, it was presented as both a 5-hour-plus television miniseries (in four episodes) and a shorter theatrical version. Unlike the intensely focused SCENES, FANNY has an epic scope, encompassing family saga, theatre, magic, ghosts, autobiography, and Dickensian melodrama, complete with a great villain (Malmsö). Set in a provincial town, the narrative centers on the Ekdahl clan: the matriarch Siri (Adolphson), her three flawed sons and their respective wives and lovers, and her grandson, the dreamy and observant Alexander (Guve), who provides the film's story's central perspective (his younger sister Fanny is a more peripheral character). The most ravishingly beautiful of Bergman's color films, FANNY features an overwhelming profusion of detail that at times rivals Visconti's THE LEOPARD, most vividly in the magnificent Christmas party that opens the story. In Swedish with English subtitles. New DCP digital restoration. (MR)

Note: There will be a 20-minute intermission after Episode 1, and 10-minute breaks after Episodes 2 and 3.

The 188-minute theatrical version of FANNY AND ALEXANDER (screening September 19) is a perfectly satisfying rendition of the main storyline. It is the version that received worldwide critical acclaim when the film was first released.

The 320-minute TV version that was broadcast in Sweden is a significantly richer and more multidimensional work. It gives us more of the story of Fanny and Alexander, and also much more beyond the story of Fanny and Alexander. The tour-de-force Christmas episode that opens the film and immerses us in the time, the place, and the characters is over 50% longer in the TV version. The vivid, Dickensian gallery of secondary characters — the matriarch Siri's three sons, the household servants, the theater troupe, and the Jewish merchant Isak — is more fleshed out. The theater strand — with its crucial parallels to Hamlet — is much more fully developed in TV version. The dimension of fantasy and the supernatural, which is one of the most distinctive elements of the story, is greatly reduced in the theatrical version.

Bergman wrote in his autobiography, "The long version was more important. That is the film I stand totally behind today."

An interesting discussion of the differences between the two versions can be found in this 11-minute video essay:

Buy a ticket at our regular prices for the first Ingmar Bergman film on any applicable Saturday in July, August, or September, and get a ticket for the second Bergman film that day at the discounted rate with proof of your original purchase: General Admission $7; Students $5; Members $4. (This discount rate applies to the second feature only. Discount available in person at the box office only.)

Play Trailer