Magic Hate Ball wrote:
I gave in and rented the 3-hour cut from the library, because it's the only one they have. In one way, it's entirely different from the rest of his films (at least, the ones I have seen), but in another way, it's similar, perhaps just a different realm in his world of film. A more sentimental realm.
I prefer the 3 hour cut. Bergman's one of those directors who insists on showing you everything
, which makes him very hit and miss for me. (probably the reason why my favorites of his - Sawdust and Tinsel, Winter Light, Virgin Spring, Persona - run 90 min and under).
The chopped down version of F&A creates ellipses which give a sense of a world continuing offscreen, which I think works beautifully for the subject matter.
Having seen both, I have to say that the brief fantastic moments from the 5-hour version, particularly the frightening glimpse of Death in the beginning are sorely missed. I did not think the cut scenes were Bergman showing everything at all, but rather they served to render the characters in even greater detail. Another very long film, Fassbinder's Alexanderplatz spent so much time developing its characters (and through them, environment) that they seemed like intimate friends by the end. If it were cut down to just follow the plot the entire point of the film would be lost, and I think Fanny & Alexander works in a similar way, though they are very different films. The only scene I could have done without is the one with Isak reading to Alexander. I guess in Magic Hate Ball's case it is understandable, but if you are going to sit down to watch a great film for three hours already, what are two more? Gosh, I wish more
of my favorite films had five hour cuts available.