DVD of the Week (11/11)

I haven’t done a proper DVD of the Week post since the beginning of September. I was prompted to bring back the feature just a few hours ago when my Criterion box set of Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander arrived in the mail. I decided, even though I’d already posted something today, to bring up the subject of this amazing, amazing movie to you, the readers.

Have you seen it? If so, what do you think of it? If you’ve seen both the three and five hour versions, which one do you prefer?

If you haven’t seen it, does it look interesting? Is it on your watchlist?

Let me know these things by leaving a comment below. Thanks!

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Posted on November 11, 2011, in DVD of the Week, Movies and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Christian Hallbeck

    Allow me to get back to this one tomorrow. It’s 04.41 in the morning here; and it’s been a long night!…

  2. Christian Hallbeck

    If I’m forced to choose between the two versions I would choose the theatrical version, since I find it more cinematic than the television version. Consequently, most of the scenes cut out from the television version are stage-like scenes or scenes from the theatre.

    The only cut out scene I wish he had saved in the theatrical version is the scene where Isak tells the children a good night story. It is so very beautiful and gripping!

    The best episode in the film is doubtlessly the one that stretches from the children’s arrival at Isaks house, to the death if the bishop. Here again we are witnessing the highest quality of cinematic craftsmanship.

    Which version and which scenes do you like the best?

  3. Christian Hallbeck

    Well, since the TV version is the version that Bergman himself said that he stood for (the other version being a necessity for theatrical screening), it definitely is “Fanny and Alexander” as it’s meant to be. I.e. it IS “Fanny and Alexander”. So I won’t argue with you! I find the TV version great too. I said that if I was FORCED to choose, i’d choose the theatrical version – for the reason that I find that most of the cut out scenes lack the cinematic qualities that identifies the theatrical version as a whole. The cut out scenes are (as I remember them) mainly staticly filmed stage performances (I may be wrong). I like an “active” camera! I like the camera to be part of the storytelling. I have never been fond of filmed theatre. That’s why I don’t particularly like “The Magician”, for example.

    Enough rambling! I’m begining to feel that there’s not a word of truth in what I just said…

    However, I can tell you that when I first bought the five hour television version many years ago (I have it on VHS too), I watched it two nights in a row!

    • There are some great scenes in the TV version, such as: a long scene near the beginning which establishes all the characters by visiting them individually at the dining table, and a scene I love where Gustav and Carl confront Edvard about granting Emilie a divorce (Gustav is hilarious in this scene.) Some of it is indeed stuff from the theatre, but not a lot. Plus, the theatre stuff features more Gunnar Björnstrand!

      THE MAGICIAN isn’t one of my favourite Bergmans either, but I don’t mind a few theatrical-style scenes at all. I think in the future the TV version is the only one I will watch.

  4. Christian Hallbeck

    I fully understand that you will.

    I too find the mentioned confrontation scene very entertaining!

    And wasn’t there a tear coming from your eye when Isak finishes his good night story by rising his gaze, the Schumann begins to play, we see Alexander in close-up looking directly at us, before we se him as a pilgrim in the hot and strongly sun lighted desert?…

    Bergman is one of the best directors I know to compose WITH music in his films. The scene where one of Bach’s flute sontas sounds as the fire consumes the bishop, is perfectly and so very sadly and beautifly used!

  5. I don’t like this film. But everything that bugs me about it ends up being the things people praise about it. I don’t remember which version I saw.

  6. I haven’t seen FANNY OCH ALEXANDER yet, but I’ve only heard good things about it. I remember reading from somewhere that it was probably the only foreign film that could or should have won best picture Oscar.

    Which version should I watch first?

    • If you’ve got access to both versions, I highly, highly recommend you spend the extra two hours and watch the full 5 hour TV version. It is easily the best version and it sums up the full experience of the film.

  7. Hi, once again haven’t seen the film and till recently had not even heard of it. Just from the box cover, sort of interesting, but I’ll have to read about it before I decide to watch it or not. Have to say I am jealous of all the Criterion you seem to be collecting 🙂

    • Rent it see it watch it love it. It is a masterpiece for ALL AGES, ALL PEOPLE, and everyone, no matter WHAT their film tastes are. I can promise you will enjoy it, I am that certain.

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