Monday, May 7, 2007

FANNY OCH ALEXANDER (Ingmar Bergman, 1982)

Mere words alone could not describe the brilliance, the power, and the artistry that is Ingmar Bergman's masterpiece, Fanny Och Alexander. What should have been the coveted director's final film, is indeed to me, turned out to be his best film amongst the ones I've seen. And obviously with that said, it earns its place among the tops of my favorite films of all time. It's a crowning achievement in every sense of cinema.

It is said that this film is a summing up of all of Bergman's cinematic themes and, also, it's his most personal film. Yes, I could feel the labor of love and the passion that Bergman has dished out into this film. There are so many layers embedded, and in them herein an astonishing amount of depth, that one would not hesitate to embrace its greatness. It's about childhood, it's about dreams, about imaginations, about suffering, about happiness, about death, about life, about forgiveness, about redemption, about memories, about existence, about religion, about faith, about being old, about being young, and basically all the elements that exist in life are inherent in this film. What's more, Bergman not only present these 'real life' themes in the film, but also injects a lot of what films are accustomed to be related with: magic, ghosts, and the 'surreal'. It's a ghost story, a fairy tale, a drama, and an art piece all in one.

This is the kind of film that 'transports' you into its world, its feelings, and its spirit. Somehow I accept that the ghosts exist, that people can do magic, and that people can be 'psychic'. These are supernatural things, and yet it 'feels' natural. Common films that deal with these elements would turn out to be just another implausible 'fantasy' film, and fantasy only. But not this one. The supernatural and reality merges so seamlessly, that the themes and 'seriousness' of the film is not only undisrupted, but lends more weight to it. For instance, the scene where the mother converse with her already dead son, casually talking about their worries. And the various 'imagination-come-to-life' scenes as observed by Alexander. It gives the sense of wonder and gives the definition of the freedom of art.

The journey is long, but the payoff is more than I could have ever expected, or even imagined. Its emotions affect me strongly, its beauty excite my senses, and its themes enlighten my mind. A triumphant film in all regards.

My Verdict: 5/5

September 22, 2006

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