261-264 Fanny and Alexander

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Martha
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261-264 Fanny and Alexander

#1 Post by Martha » Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:35 pm

Fanny and Alexander

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Legendary filmmaker Ingmar Bergman made Fanny and Alexander (Fanny och Alexander) as his swan song, and it is his most autobiographical film, a masterpiece combining his trademark melancholy and emotional intensity with a surprising joyfulness and sensuality. The Criterion Collection is proud to present together both versions of this great work: the theatrical release, winner of the 1984 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and, for the first time on home video in the U.S., the original five-hour television cut. Also included is Bergman’s own feature-length documentary The Making of Fanny and Alexander (Dokument Fanny och Alexander), offering a unique glimpse into his creative process.

Fanny and Alexander — The Theatrical Version

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Through the eyes of ten-year-old Alexander (Bertil Guve), we witness the great delights and conflicts of the Ekdahl family, a sprawling, convivial bourgeois clan in turn-of-the-century Sweden. Ingmar Bergman intended Fanny and Alexander (Fanny och Alexander) to be his swan song, and it is the legendary filmmaker’s warmest and most autobiographical film, a triumph that combines his trademark melancholy and emotional intensity with immense joyfulness and sensuality. The Criterion Collection is proud to present this winner of the 1984 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, accompanied by rarely seen introductions by Bergman to eleven of his other films.

Fanny and Alexander — The Television Version

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/product_images/66/262_box_348x490_w100.jpg[/img]

Ingmar Bergman has described Fanny and Alexander as “the sum total of my life as a filmmaker.” And in this, the full-length (312-minute) version of his triumphant valediction, his vision is expressed at its fullest. Originally broadcast on Swedish television in 1984, in four episodes, Bergman’s preferred rendition of Fanny and Alexander reinstates two hours worth of material trimmed from the theatrical version. The Criterion Collection is proud to present the complete, uncut Fanny and Alexander for the first time on home video in the U.S.

Box Set:
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Fanny and Alexander: Theatrical
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Fanny and Alexander: Television Version
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Making of Fanny and Alexander:
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Blu-ray Box Set:
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The Fanciful Norwegian
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#2 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:43 pm

USA Today -- of all people -- had a little snippet about this a couple of days ago. They give no indication as to what the movie is actually about and it's buried within a longer article on the trend towards multi-disc DVD sets (USA Today always has its finger on the pulse of the video industry), but on the upside, they spelled Bergman's name right and remembered to mention Criterion. Good job.

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thethirdman
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#3 Post by thethirdman » Mon Nov 15, 2004 6:58 pm

A question for those that already have the set: which films are represented in the eleven Bergman introductions on the supplemental disc?

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Arn777
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#4 Post by Arn777 » Mon Nov 15, 2004 8:26 pm

Summer with Monika
Sawdust and Tinsel
A lesson in love
Smiles of a summer night
The seventh seal
Wild strawberries
Through a glass darkly
Winter Light
The Silence
Cries and whisper
Autumn sonata

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Lino
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#5 Post by Lino » Tue Nov 16, 2004 5:42 am

And the assorted trailers? For which films are they?

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Arn777
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#6 Post by Arn777 » Tue Nov 16, 2004 5:59 am

I haven't checked all, but it looks like only the first three films do not have trailers, while the ones that Criterion has already released have trailers.

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Michael
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#7 Post by Michael » Wed Nov 17, 2004 10:02 am

Wondering about those who don't care for the 3-hour theatrical version...the version that most of us in the US are familiar with. Are you still picking up the Criterion edition with the 5 hour television version or at least giving it a try?

If you have already seen the 5 hour version, then I'm also wondering if it changes your mind about the theatrical version in any way.

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Keaton
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#8 Post by Keaton » Wed Nov 17, 2004 12:12 pm

Arn777 wrote:Summer with Monika
Sawdust and Tinsel
A lesson in love
I think that means we dont need to wait for Criterion Editions of these three Films. Otherwise, if they own the rights, I cant explain why Criterion did not wait to put the intoductions on the single releases.

Regards,

Dennis :)

pmunger
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#9 Post by pmunger » Wed Nov 17, 2004 12:37 pm

How does rights apply to theatrical trailers? Correct me if I'm wrong but I always thought they were the same as the film? In that case, shouldn't we expect those 3 to be released by criterion at some point?

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King of Kong
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#10 Post by King of Kong » Thu Nov 18, 2004 4:29 am

I'm really surprised that a man of Bergman's age can operate a heavy-duty vehicle. I'm in awe!

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Alyosha
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#11 Post by Alyosha » Thu Nov 18, 2004 8:16 am


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Lino
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#12 Post by Lino » Thu Nov 18, 2004 12:16 pm

It is hard to argue that Fanny is not an important component in this film or in her brother's life, as she is shown as being closer to him than any other character. It is Fanny who first prompts Alexander to voice his disgust about Edvard to Emilie. It is Fanny who witness Edvard's caning of Alexander and defiantly refuses the Bishop's embrace afterwards. And it is Fanny who loves her brother so much that she sleeps in his bed after their father dies. What is Bergman's purpose with her? It seems obvious enough that the decision to begin the title with her name and her constant silent presence has a methodical purpose. The ambiguity of this subject is just one of the strengths of Fanny and Alexander. The viewer is left with tremendous opportunities to contemplate what has been seen and what it means. In this respect, the film is a rousingly successful conclusion to Bergman's magnificent career.

I guess this is a very plausible explanation to a discussion on the last forum about the role of Fanny in the film and its title.

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FilmFanSea
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#13 Post by FilmFanSea » Thu Nov 18, 2004 5:26 pm

Another stellar review, this time from Box Office Magazine:
Still, all things considered... "Fanny & Alexander" may be the best DVD of 2004.

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Michael
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#14 Post by Michael » Fri Nov 19, 2004 12:37 pm

Fanny And Alexander was among the milestones of my lifetime of watching films. When it was first released theatrically back in the early 80s, I was a young kid and it was such a rare thing for a foreign film to play theatrically in my tiny upstate New York town. One hot Indian summer afternoon, I went to see it by myself. In the majestically huge dark theater, I was the only one and the film with its dark lushness transported me to a world so foreign to me. I was about the same age as Alexander and seeing the world through his eyes - spirits, death, magic - stirred and hynpotized me tremendously. When the intermission came, I just sat there not moving a bit.. I just couldnt afford to puncture the womb I was trapped in during the first half. Once Fanny And Alexander ended, I never forget this: the piercing sun hitting my eyes as I opened the door. The sun and the children playing frisbees on the parking lot snapped me back to reality. I turned obsessed with the film that when it came on cable a year or two later, I made everyone in my family to sit and watch the film - a 3-hour foreign film! I even baked cookies (butter & spice) and made some hot cider, trying to make their experience more spectacular or special. But of course, they later mocked me, sending me to my bed crying and feeling tremendously humiliated and betrayed. How could anyone make fun of my love for Fanny And Alexander?!? How could anyone not like it?!? That night, I learned a lot and that is not everyone could get it!

More than 20 years later. My favorite DVD company releases Fanny And Alexander. I have the box set in my hands - still wrapped. I'm going to give it another chance - gathering my partner and some close friends - for a night of experiencing Fanny And Alexander sometime before Christmas.. completed with butter & spice cookies and hmm, mulled wine.

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Lino
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#15 Post by Lino » Fri Nov 19, 2004 12:43 pm

Can I be invited too? I'd love to be there, my friend and you can be sure I wouldn't mock you. Oh, well...today's a hard day for me and I guess I'm feeling more sensitive than on a regular basis.

BTW, wonderful description once again of a film experience, Michael!

Napoleon
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#16 Post by Napoleon » Fri Nov 19, 2004 1:31 pm

I never forget this: the piercing sun hitting my eyes as I opened the door. The sun and the children playing frisbees on the parking lot snapped me back to reality...
...But of course, they later mocked me, sending me to my bed crying and feeling tremendously humiliated and betrayed.
Oh, the irony. Your experience sounds like it came straight out of a Bergman film.

Excellent prose Michael.

I was going to hang on until the New Year, but I think that I'm going to have to make Fanny & Alexander an early Christmas present for myself.

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Fellini-Hexed
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#17 Post by Fellini-Hexed » Fri Nov 19, 2004 4:23 pm

That is a heart-breaking tale, Michael, and beautifully told. Have you thought of turning this memory into a short film or story? Just a thought.

I've put together a film club (which grew out of a book club I'm part of: can you say Supernerd?), and I'm going to subject them all to the theatrical cut of F&A when it arrives from Amazon.ca: hopefully soon! (like N Wilson, this is an early Christmas present to myself.) Bergman is swiftly becoming my new addiction, and everything I read about this film tells me I'll love it, so I'm trying not to get the expectations up too high!

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Steven H
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#18 Post by Steven H » Mon Nov 22, 2004 12:05 am

A truly unforgettable and brilliant film. I watched it tonight with my girlfriend, brother, and father who all agreed to sit down for the five hour version as a birthday present to me (it was the only way to cajole them into spending a gorgeous autumn dusk inside the house in front of a television). Maybe I'm just horribly spoiled, but the image seemed a little too soft for it's age (some parts more than others). Anyone else notice this?

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Donald Brown
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#19 Post by Donald Brown » Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:32 am

So, Harri, what was your family's response to the film?

rossbrew
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#20 Post by rossbrew » Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:36 am

Just watched the 5 hour version followed- the next night- by the 3 hour theat. cut: Have to say the longer version was much more enjoyable. Though I always loved the 3 hr. Fanny , the longer is much more deep with characterization and I feel too much has been sacrificed in the cut version. All in all, probably the dvd of the year (along with WB's Film Noir box)...enjoy!

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Steven H
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#21 Post by Steven H » Mon Nov 22, 2004 2:07 am

Donald Brown wrote:So, Harri, what was your family's response to the film?
My girlfriend (28) loved it, said she'd be thinking about it "for a long time" (she enjoyes later Bergman, I haven't introduced her to any early stuff yet). My dad (44) loved it in spite of his usual aversion to "surreality" in films (don't get me started...), and my brother (20) liked it (I know he's a big Bergman fan, I can't wait to get back to him and ask what he thought). It was a pretty interesting experience, though I would have preferred a break for dinner between discs, whereas they wanted to eat before starting.

I think five hours might have been pushing it for one or two of them though... I can't wait to check out the rest of the set.

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Michael
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#22 Post by Michael » Mon Nov 22, 2004 12:11 pm

The transfer is among the best I've ever seen. Very exquisite and lush. The colors! My goodness.

harri wrote:
the image seemed a little too soft
What do you mean exactly? There are some images that appear soft which I think Bergman intends them to be - that is to create a dreamy, nostalgic world seen through a young boy's eyes, especially during the Christmas opening and the holding up in Isaak's.

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Steven H
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#23 Post by Steven H » Mon Nov 22, 2004 12:27 pm

Michael wrote:What do you mean exactly?
It's probably just my imagination, but I thought there were changes in softness (sometimes scene to scene, sometimes cut to cut), but it was probably the directors intention, my poor television, and/or me.

I'm probably going to watch the three hour version sometime soon (on a different television) where I'm sure any questions I had will be put to rest.

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Lino
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#24 Post by Lino » Sat Dec 04, 2004 4:52 am

So, Michael: how did the evening go? Just curious, that's all...:)

Crocky
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#25 Post by Crocky » Sat Dec 04, 2004 7:02 am

I'll receive my 5 Discs set next week and meanwhile I have a question for those who got the set :

I saw the 3 hours theatrical version only once about ten years ago and despite it made a great impression on me at that time, today I only vaguely remember the whole plot. What do you recommend me to watch first : the 3 hours version or the 5 hours version ?

Thanks
Crocky

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