Through the wide eyes of ten-year-old Alexander (Bertil Guve), we witness the great delights and conflicts of the Ekdahl family—a sprawling, convivial bourgeois clan living in turn-of-the-century Sweden. Intended as Ingmar Bergman’s swan song, Fanny and Alexander (Fanny och Alexander) is the legendary filmmaker’s warmest and most autobiographical film, a triumph that combines his trademark melancholy and emotional rigor with immense joyfulness and sensuality.
One of the more upbeat and accessible films by acclaimed Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. Written by Bergman, this autobiographical story follows the lives of two children during one tumultuous year. After the death of the children's beloved father, a local theater owner, their mother marries a strict clergyman. Their new life is cold and ascetic, especially when compared to the unfettered and impassioned life they knew with their father. Most of the story is seen through the eyes of the little boy and is often told in dreamlike sequences. Colorful, insightful, and optimistic, this is far less grim than most of Bergman's work. It was awarded four of the six Oscars for which it was nominated, including Best Foreign Language Film. Though this was announced as his last film, Bergman continued to work into the late 1990s, though mostly for Swedish television. --Rochelle O'Gorman