Saturday, October 20, 2018

Fanny och Alexander 1–5 (the long version, the director's cut) (2009 digital restoration) / Fanny and Alexander (DCP)


Fanny och Alexander. Helena Ekdahl (Gunn Wållgren): "See, now I'm crying. It's over with the old, fine life, and the terrible, shitty life is falling over us. That's how it is". / "Ser du, nu gråter jag. Det glada, fina livet är slut, det hemska, skitiga livet kastar sig över oss. Så är det." With her best friend Isak Jacobi (Erland Josephson). Foto: Arne Carlsson © AB Svensk Filmindustri. Photo and caption: Stiftelsen Ingmar Bergman.

Fanny och Alexander. Ismael Retzinsky (Stina Ekblad): "Perhaps we are the same person, perhaps we have no borders, perhaps we move into one another, flow through each other, magnificently without limits. You carry dreadful thoughts, it almost hurts to be near you, but it is tempting at the same time. Do you know why?" / "Kanske är vi samma person, kanske har vi inga gränser, kanske flyter vi in i varandra, strömmar genom varandra, obegränsat och storartat. Du bär på förfärliga tankar, det är nästan plågsamt att vara i din närhet, samtidigt är det lockande. Vet du varför?" Alexander Ekdahl (Bertil Guve). Foto: Arne Carlsson © AB Svensk Filmindustri. Photo and caption: Stiftelsen Ingmar Bergman.

Fanny och Alexander. The children see in the housemaid Justina their only ally in the bishop's house. Bergman would direct Andersson one more time in The Blessed Ones four years later. / Barnen ser till en början pigan Justina (Harriet Andersson) som sin enda bundsförvant på biskopsgården. Bergman skulle regissera Andersson ytterligare en gång fyra år senare i De två saliga. Fanny Ekdahl (Pernilla Allwin), Justina (Harriet Andersson), Alexander Ekdahl (Bertil Guve). Foto: Arne Carlsson © AB Svensk Filmindustri. Photo and caption: Stiftelsen Ingmar Bergman.

Fanny och Alexander. Gunnar Björnstrand (Filip Landhal) who had a small role was diagnosed during the filming with emerging dementia. Fanny and Alexander turned out to be his last film role. / som hade en minimal roll, var under inspelningen sjuklig med en begynnande demens. Fanny och Alexander skulle bli hans sista filmroll. Foto: Arne Carlsson © AB Svensk Filmindustri. Photo and caption: Stiftelsen Ingmar Bergman.

Fanny ja Alexander
    SE/FR/DE © 1982 Svenska Filminstitutet. PC: Cinematograph / Svenska Filminstitutet / Sveriges Radio TV 1 / Gaumont /  Personafilm / Tobis Filmkunst. P: Jörn Donner, Daniel Toscan du Plantier. D+SC: Ingmar Bergman. DP: Sven Nykvist – 1,66:1 – Eastman Color. PD: Anna Asp, Susanne Lingheim. Cost: Mari Vos-Lundh. Makeup: Anna-Lena Melin. Cecilia Drott ja Kjell Gustvasson (wigs). M arrangements: Daniel Bell. ED: Sylvia Ingemarsson. S: Björn Gunnarsson, Lars Liljeholm, Bo Persson. Production manager: Katinka Faragó.
    SOUNDTRACK LISTING: Main theme:
– Robert Schumann: Quintett Es-Dur, op. 44, 2. Satz: In modo d'una Marcia (1842). – Perf: Marianne Jacobs (piano), Freskkvartetten.
– Robert Schumann: "Du Ring an meinem Finger", lyr. Adalbert von Chamisso, perf: Christina Schollin (vocals), [Käbi Laretei as Aunt Anna (piano) tbc].
– Benjamin Britten: Suite No 2 for Cello Solo, perf. Frans Helmerson (cello).
– Benjamin Britten: Suite No 3 for Cello Solo, perf. Frans Helmerson (cello).
– Frédéric Chopin: "Marche funèbre", op. 35, perf.: Stockholms Regionmusikkår, cond. Per Lyng.
– "Finska rytteriets marsch" [The March of the Finnish Cavalry in the Thirty Years' War] (1618–1648), trad. arr. Daniel Bell, perf. Käbi Laretei (piano).
– "A Hebrew Song from the 17th Century", perf. Stina Ekblad (vocals).
– Etc. See complete listing beyond the jump break.
    C: THE EKDAHL HOUSE.  Gunn Wållgren (Helena Ekdahl, grandmother, née Mandelbaum), Jarl Kulle (Gustav Adolf Ekdahl), Mona Malm (Alma Ekdahl, Gustav's wife), Angelica Wallgren (Eva Ekdahl, Gustav and Alma's daughter), Maria Granlund (Petra, Gustav and Alma's daughter), Emelie Werkö (Jenny, Gustav and Alma's daughter), Kristian Almgren (Putte, Gustav and Alma's son), Allan Edwall (Oscar Ekdahl), Ewa Fröling (Emelie Ekdahl, Oscar's wife), Bertil Guve (Alexander, Oscar and Emelie's son), Pernilla Allwin (Fanny, Oscar and Emelie's daughter), Börje Ahlstedt (Carl Ekdahl), Christina Schollin (Lydia Ekdahl, Carl's wife), Sonya Hedenbratt (Aunt Emma),  Käbi Laretei (Aunt Anna), Majlis Granlund (Miss Vega), Svea Holst (Miss Ester), Kristina Adolphson (Siri), Siv Ericks (Alida), Inga Ålenius (Lisen), Eva von Hanno (Berta), Pernilla August (Maj), Lena Olin (Rosa), Patricia Gélin (statue), Gösta Prüzelius (Dr. Fürstenberg), Hans Strååt (priest), Carl Billquist (Jespersson, policeman).
    THE BISHOP'S HOUSE. Jan Malmsjö (Bishop Edvard Vergérus), Kerstin Tidelius (Henrietta Vergérus), Hans Henrik Lerfeldt (Elsa Bergius), Marianne Aminoff (Blenda Vergérus), Harriet Andersson (Justina), Mona Andersson (Karna), Marianne Nielsen (Selma), Marrit Ohlsson (Tander), Linda Krüger (Pauline), Pernilla Wahlgren (Esmeralda), Peter Stormare (young man who helps Isak with the casket), Krister Hell (young man who helps Isak with the casket). 
    JACOBI'S HOUSE.  Erland Josephson (Isak Jacobi), Stina Ekblad (Ismael Retzinsky), Mats Bergman (Aron Retzinsky), Viola Aberlé (Japanese woman),  Gerd Andersson (Japanese woman).
    THE THEATRE.  Gunnar Björnstrand (Filip Landahl), Heinz Hopf (Tomas Graal), Sune Mangs (Mr. Salenius), Nils Brandt (Mr. Morsing), Per Mattsson (Mikael Bergman), Anna Bergman (Hanna Schwartz), Lickå Sjöman (Grete Holm), Ernst Günther (Rector Magnificus), Hugo Hasslo (singer).
    Swedish premiere of the theatrical version: 17 Dec 1982.
    Swedish telepremiere of the long version: 17 Dec 1983 SVT1.
    Helsinki premiere of the theatrical version: 21.1.1983 Adlon, Gloria, released by Adams Filmi – vhs of the long version: 1992 Suomen Kunnallispalvelu Oy – VET 90644 – K16
    The theatrical version 5215 m / 191 min
    The long version according to sources: 312 min, 326 min – actual duration of the copy screened 322 min (the durations of the acts below are of the ones screened):
    2009 digital restoration / Svenska Filminstitutet.
    The long version on 2K DCP from Svenska Filminstitutet / Bergman 100 with English subtitles.
    Screened at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Bergman 100), 20 Oct 2018
    15.30 Fanny ja Alexander 1. Prolog / Prologue / Prologi + Första akten: Familjen Ekdahl firar jul / The First Act: The Ekdahl Family Celebrates Christmas / Ensimmäinen näytös: Ekdahlin perhe viettää joulua / 96 min + intermission 20 min
    17.30 Fanny ja Alexander 2. Andra akten: Vålnaden / The Second Akt: The Wraith / Toinen näytös: Haamu + Tredje akten: Uppbrottet / The Thid Act: The Breakup / Kolmas näytös: Hajoaminen 79 min + intermission 30 min
    19.15 Fanny ja Alexander 3. Fjärde akten: Sommarens händelser / The Fourth Act: The Summer's Events / Neljäs näytös: Kesän tapahtumat 60 min + intermission 15 min
    20.30 Fanny ja Alexander 4. Femte akten: Demonerna / Fifth Act: Demons / Viides näytös: Demonit + Epilog / Epilogue / Epilogi 87 min

"Tid och rum existerar icke; på en obetydlig verklighetsbakgrund spinner inbillningen ut och väver nya mönster." (August Strindberg: Ett drömspel, 1902)

"Time and space do not exist; on an insignificant basis of reality, the imagination spins and weaves new patterns." (August Strindberg: A Dream Play, 1902)

To my knowledge the long version of Fanny and Alexander has been screened theatrically in Finland only once before, in our first complete Ingmar Bergman retrospective at Cinema Orion in 1986. There has never been a print of the complete version in Finland, and the only theatrically projectable format in Sweden in 1986 was 16 mm.

We ended our Bergman Centenary retrospective with Fanny and Alexander, his farewell film. After it, Bergman continued his creative work for over 20 years in theatre, in television, and, most prominently, as a writer. Fanny and Alexander opened for Bergman a fountain of memories and ideas from which he continued to draw until the end of his life. His achievement as a writer was so outstanding that he is presently considered one of Sweden's greatest authors.

The happiest highlights in our Bergman Centenary tribute were his three longform works produced as television series. However, all are at their most rewarding as cinema marathons. All remain thrilling and original, all look better than ever: Scenes from a Marriage, Face to Face, and Fanny and Alexander. All are disappointing in their truncated "cinema versions".

I lived in Stockholm when Fanny and Alexander had its premiere both in its theatrical release in December 1982 and its telepremiere exactly one year later in December 1983. I remember the disappointment in 1982 of the theatrical version which, however, received rave reviews. The characters were not up to Bergman standards, there were one-note figures, complexity was missing. Performances failed to grow to a familiar Bergman level, with the fascinating exception of the marvellous veteran Gunn Wållgren in her first role in a film directed by Bergman. Fanny and Alexander are title characters, but we learn nothing about Fanny and also Alexander remains passive. The hissable villain of the piece, Bishop Vergérus, seemed like a tired cliché compared with Bergman's previous tormented priests and crusaders.

In 1983, watching the director's cut as a television series, I had to revise my opinion. Fanny and Alexander was something different, something that Bergman had not essayed in the cinema before, with the exception of The Magic Flute. (In the theatre he had done similar things since his early days in the children's theatre). Fanny and Alexander is a mystery play, a dream play, a fairy-tale, a Gothic tale, and a variation of 19th century melodrama. It has affinities with the grand romances of Selma Lagerlöf such as Gösta Berling's Saga, splendidly filmed by Mauritz Stiller (the great fire sequence is a direct connection between Stiller and Bergman). It has also affinities with Charles Dickens's serial novels. Bishop Vergérus is the Devil incarnate in a cloak of religious authority, pretending to teach the language of love.

The lavishness of the spectacle is in itself of the essence, as are the visions, demons, ghosts, and elements of magic and illusion. Maybe I should have perceived this also in the short version. But, as often, the short version fails to maintain the voltage, the rhythm and the fine web of continuities of characters, motifs and movements. The short version is often boring one while the long version is thrilling. Yes, Fanny and Alexander belongs to Bergman's entertainment films, but in the best sense: he is bringing the best of certain dimensions of the talents of the cast and crew to the widest possible audience.

Seeing films next to one another connections emerge. Two days ago we screened Estonia's most beloved film, Spring (1969), whose events also take place among children of the Belle Époque. Both are about the beauty of life just before start of the Age of Extremes, yet neither is naive about the violent undercurrents of life.

The revelation of the movie and its essence as the last will of Ingmar Bergman as a film director is in the last act, Demons. It ends with the grandmother reading aloud August Strindberg's foreword to The Dream Play where the writer states that time and space do no not exist. According to Strindberg, characters split, double, multiply, evaporate, condense, dissolve and merge, and one consciousness rules: the dreamer's.

The Jewish tradition had fascinated Bergman for a long time, and in the last act we see Erland Josephson's finest performance in a Bergman film when he as Isak Jacobi reads to the children a tale from an old Jewish book, translating from Hebrew to Swedish. It is a tale of a young man on an endless highway, searching for the destination, the meaning of life. But he only discovers a mountain covered by a vast cloud, formed of the fears, hopes and dreams of people. And that cloud transforms into streams down the mountain forming springs and rivers. Although presented as a Hebrew tale I believe it was written by Bergman. (P.S. 1 Nov 2018: yes, it was. Thanks for confirmation: Jan Holmberg. See previous post.).

I had forgotten than in this act there is also Bergman's most powerful account of anti-semitism when Bishop Vergérus attacks Isak Jacobi with the most despicable insults. Erland Josephson had reservations about the stereotyped character of Isak Jacobi, but within Fanny and Alexander's fairy-tale world the character makes sense.

I do not know whether anyone has commented on the potentially Jewish backstory of Fanny and Alexander. Their grandmother Helena Ekdahl's birth name is Mandelbaum. Not in the film but in the published screenplay there is, however, a strong hint that Oscar Ekdahl is not the biological father of Fanny and Alexander.

In the final episode we are introduced to the character of Ismael the androgyne. Bergman was ahead of his time in featuring a character whom we would now call genderqueer / non-binary / transgender. Getting acquainted with the mysteries of life, Alexander, at 10, in a latent phase of development, gets an insight that sex and gender are more complex than they may seem. "Perhaps we are the same person".

In his essay "Call Me Ishmael" (Canadian Forum 41, November 1983, reprinted in the book Ingmar Bergman: New Edition, 2013) Robin Wood sees in the Ismael sequence the final key moment in Bergman's oeuvre. "The brief scene in which Ishmael and Alexander join forces is given powerful erotic overtones: Ishmael encloses the boy in his / her arms, and together they will the death of the stepfather, the overthrow of patriarchal oppression (the enactment of Alexander's secret, unspeakable wish) that makes possible not only Alexander's freedom but Emilie's – her independence, her acceptance of the theater management. When Ishmael invites Alexander to write his own name, the name he finds he has written is Ishmael's. The pre-pubescent male child becomes identified with the symbolic figure of androgyny; the woman becomes active and autonomous; Bergman identifies himself with all three. At last a Bergman film has achieved a triumphant happy ending – a triumph qualified but not disqualified by the brief intrusion of the stepfather's ghost" (p. 250–251).

The final act closes the circle also because of the affinity with Prison (1949), Bergman's first truly original film: the assured approach to a space full of mystery, the successful transformation of le théâtre intime to a cinematic space, die Konstitution der Innerlichkeit, introduced to Nordic culture by Kierkegaard, evolving into a recognizably and uniquely Bergmanian universe. Indeed, we are literally in a prison again. In the film-in-the-film of Prison the Devil comes to rule on Earth and orders that everything shall go on as before. Such is also the condition we meet at the Bishop's house, but for once there is a salvation in the finale.

Sven Nykvist's colour cinematography is at his most exquisite in Fanny and Alexander. The 2009 digital restoration has been conducted with great taste and elegance. The warm colours are glowing but never glaring. All four seasons are conveyed in vibrant colours. It is a feast for the eyes. The screening was in all ways a fitting end to an Ingmar Bergman retrospective.

OUR PROGRAM NOTE EDITED BY SAKARI TOIVIAINEN FROM LASSE TERONEN AND YWE JALANDER:
OUR PROGRAM NOTE EDITED BY SAKARI TOIVIAINEN FROM LASSE TERONEN AND YWE JALANDER:

“Voi tapahtua mitä vain, kaikki on mahdollista ja todennäköistä. Aikaa ja tilaa ei ole olemassa; vähäpätöiseltä todellisuuspohjalta levittäytyy mielikuvitus kutomaan uusia kuoseja: muistoja, elämysten ja vapaitten päähänpistojen sekoitusta. Henkilöt halkaistaan, monistetaan, häivytetään, tiivistetään, hajotetaan, kootaan. Mutta yksi tietoisuus on kaiken yläpuolella, ja se on uneksijan...”
   
Näin alkaa August Strindbergin Uninäytelmä (1901) ja näihin sanoihin päättyy Bergmanin Fanny ja Alexander. Dickensiin vivahtavana, melodramaattisia piirteitä sisältävänä sukukronikkana Bergmanin elokuva on yllättävä sekoitus ohjaajalle tuttuja teemoja, mutta myös sellaista rehevää aisti-iloa, joka vain hetkittäin on päässyt Bergmanin tuotannossa pintaan. Bergman itse on nimittänyt luomustaan freskoksi, mutta yhtä paljon se on laatukuva, henkeäsalpaavaa valon ja värin runoutta tai toimivaa draamaa, jossa materiaalin runsaus on jäsennetty selkeäksi ja moniulotteiseksi kuvioksi. Nyt Bergman katselee elämää seestyneen tarkkailijan silmin, mutta on myös läsnä jokaisessa henkilössään, ei vähiten 10-vuotiaassa Alexanderissa, jonka kokemuksissa ja reaktioissa on omakuvan piirteitä.

Fanny ja Alexanderissa kertautuu taiteilijaksi tulemisen teema, kristinuskon ahdistavuus sekä elämän ja teatterin ykseys. Teatterin teema on läsnä monella tasolla. Lapsuudessaan innokkaasti nukketeattereita rakennellut Bergman aloittaa elokuvansa kehystämällä Alexanderin pienoisnäyttämön sisään ja lopettaa sen Strindberg-sitaattiin ja siihen kun miesvainajansa jälkeen teatterinjohtajaksi tullut Emilie Ekdahl ottaa ottaa ohjelmistoon Strindbergin Uninäytelmän, jonka kantava teema on se Emanuel Swedenborgin ajatus, että tämänpuoleinen elämä ei olekaan elämää, vaan unennäköä.

Fanny ja Alexanderin varsinaisessa pääosassa on mielikuvituksen mahti maailmoja luovana ja loputtomana energialähteenä. Teatterinjohtajan ja näyttelijättären poikana Alexanderin maailmankuva on luova, vapaa ja epärationaalinen. Alexanderin maailmassa ei ole selvää eroa sille, missä todellisuus loppuu ja sepite alkaa. Hänen luovuuttaan on valehteleminen, tarinointi, mitä hänen uusi isänsä piispa ei voi käsittää ja mistä hän rankaisee lasta. Fanny ja Alexander todistaa lopullisesti ja vastaansanomattomasti sen mistä hänen aikaisempi tuotantonsa on tarjonnut vain ajoittaisia näytteitä: että hän osaa olla lumoava kertoja, taikuri, huumorin ja elämänilon tulkki.

– Lasse Terosen (1983), Ywe Jalanderin (1983) ja muiden lähteiden mukaan ST

SOUNDTRACK LISTING FROM: STIFTELSEN INGMAR BERGMAN 

Musik

Titel: Den gång jag var...  
Textförfattare: Allan Bergstrand 

Titel: Sonat, piano, op. 35, b-moll, "Marche funèbre"  
Kompositör: Frédéric Chopin (1837-1839)
Orkester: Stockholms Regionmusikkår 
Orkesterledare: Per Lyng 

Titel: Tretonsmusik  
Kompositör: Daniel Bell 
Kommentar: Instrumental.

Titel: Symfoni, nr 4, op 120, d-moll. Sats 2  
Kompositör: Robert Schumann (1841, rev. 1851)
Musikarrangör: Daniel Bell 
Kommentar: Instrumental.

Titel: Hebreisk sång från 1600-talet   
Sångare: Stina Ekblad

Titel: An der schönen blauen Donau, op. 314  
Kompositör: Johann Strauss, d.y. (1867)
Kommentar: Instrumental - speldosa.

Titel: Suite No 3 for Cello Solo  
Kompositör: Benjamin Britten 
Instrumentalist: Frans Helmerson (cello)

Cembalomusik  
Kompositör: Allan Edwall 
Kommentar: Instrumental.

Titel: Suite No 2 for Cello Solo  
Kompositör: Benjamin Britten 
Instrumentalist: Frans Helmerson (cello)

Titel: O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum   
Musikarrangör: Daniel Bell 
Kommentar: Instrumental.

Titel: Sonat, flöjt, cembalo, BWV 1031, Ess-dur  
Kompositör: Johann Sebastian Bach 
Instrumentalist: Gunilla von Bahr (flöjt)

Titel: Du Ring an meinem Finger  
Kompositör: Robert Schumann 
Textförfattare: Adalbert von Chamisson 
Sångare: Christina Schollin 

Titel: Smålandsvisan   
Kommentar: Instrumental.

Titel: La Belle Hélène  
Kompositör: Jacques Offenbach 
Musikarrangör: Daniel Bell
Kommentar: Instrumental.

Titel: Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen  
Textförfattare: Thekla Knös (1867)
Musikarrangör: Daniel Bell

Titel: Nocturne, nr 7, op. 27:1, ciss-moll  
Kompositör: Frédéric Chopin (1834-35)
Kommentar: Instrumental.

Titel: Helan går   
Sångare: Allan Edwall 
Sångare: Jarl Kulle 
Sångare: Börje Ahlstedt 

Titel: Hej, tomtegubbar ...   
Musikarrangör: Daniel Bell 
Sångare: Börje Ahlstedt 
Sångare: Jarl Kulle 
Sångare: Allan Edwall

Titel: Nu är det jul igen ...   
Sångare: kör

Titel: Bagatell, piano  
Kompositör: Ludwig van Beethoven 
Instrumentalist: Käbi Laretei (piano)

Titel: Humoresk, piano, op. 101. Nr 7, Gess-dur  
Kompositör: Antonín Dvořák (1894)
Kommentar: Instrumental.

Titel: Impromptu, piano, D. 935, op. 142. Nr 3, B-dur  
Kompositör: Franz Schubert (1827)
Kommentar: Instrumental.

Titel: Finska Rytteriets marsch  
Textförfattare: Zacharias Topelius 
Musikarrangör: Daniel Bell 
Instrumentalist: Käbi Laretei (piano)

Titel: Den signade dag  
Textförfattare: Johan Olof Wallin (1812)
Bearbetning: Johan Olof Wallin (1812)
Musikarrangör: Daniel Bell 
Kommentar: Instrumental.

Titel: Slutackord - teatern  
Kompositör: Daniel Bell 
Kommentar: Instrumental

Titel: A Tailor and His Wife   
Kommentar: Sjungs av kör (studiekamraterna).

Titel: Triumfmarsch  
Kompositör: Giuseppe Verdi 
Musikarrangör: Daniel Bell 
Kommentar: Instrumental.

Titel: Kvintett, stråkar, piano, op. 44, Ess-dur  
Kompositör: Robert Schumann (1842)
Instrumentalist: Marianne Jacobs (piano)
Instrumentalist: Freskkvartetten

Titel: Konsert, mandolin (2), stråkorkester, RV 532, G-dur  
Kompositör: Antonio Vivaldi 
Kommentar: Instrumental.

Titel: Ängelmusik  
Kompositör: Daniel Bell

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