This behind the scenes documentary of Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander, directed by Ingmar Bergman himself, has its own spine number in the Criterion Collection, which means we get to spend two more hours watching variations on material we've spent about 10 hours with already. There's some interesting material here, particularly the sequence in shooting Gunnar Björnstrand performance as the singing clown. Mostly it teaches us that Bergman was a kind grandfather of a director.
In part two of our discussion on Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander we turn our focus to the shorter theatrical version -- click here for part one on the television version. While it may be true that the two hours cut out for this version contain nothing substantial to the plot or story, it is also true that the shorter cut is objectively worse. This may be the only time I prefer watching a five hour version of a thing that exists in a three hour version as well, but I stand by it.
Listen to this week's Lost in Criterion episode Fanny and Alexander: the Theatrical Version, part two of our Fanny and Alexander discussion, via iTunes or LostInCriterion.com, and while you're at it, like us on Facebook or support us on Patreon.
Ingmar Bergman's Fanny & Alexander exists in two cuts and we'll be talking about the shorter theatrical version next week, but that can't be talked about without referencing the longer television version, which itself can't really be talked about in a single episode. All that to say: this week's episode is really part one of a two part conversation (three part if you count the fact that in two weeks we'll be talking about The Making of Fanny and Alexander).
The film itself is a coming of age story with ghosts (of Hamlet and proto-J-horror varieties) and the possible (probable?) psychic murder of a hated step-relative. It's Bergman having come to terms with his existentialism, or at least having come to accept the mystery of mysticism, and exploring it. So utterly amazing.
Listen to this week's Lost in Criterion episode Fanny and Alexander: the Television Version, part one of our Fanny and Alexander discussion, via iTunes or LostInCriterion.com, and while you're at it, like us on Facebook or support us on Patreon.
Ingmar Bergman was in a bad spot in 1955. He'd been making features for over a decade and had yet to have a hit. He thought he had stomach cancer. He was on the brink of suicide. He decided to make a romantic comedy.
Smiles of a Summer Night was Bergman's first international hit, the producers having taken it to Cannes without Bergman's knowledge. People loved the film, and fell in love with Bergman, an interesting development considering his next hit was Seventh Seal, and while this was not his last comedy, he's principally known for existential dramas in Seal's vein not lighter work like this.
The Silence is about the silence of God and our inability to communicate with one another.
Ingmar Bergman made is in 1963 but it sure hits hard this week.
I said my piece with Night and Fog. Go read it again.
From here on out Lost in Criterion may just be reviewing Hudson Hawk every week until we feel sane.