Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Ekdahl Pavilion

I watched Fanny & Alexander last night. The television version, of course. All 5 hours. In one sitting. My butt never once screamed at me, so that's a plus. In fact, it was probably incredibly happy, considering the rest of my body was.

First of all, it seemed incredibly natural the entire way through. Every scene, all of them, were beyond petty adjectives. That someone was able to cut A LOT from it and still make it one of the best films ever made, A DOWNGRADE, just seems unfathomable. Somebody explain this. Actually, don't. On second thought, the supernatural, unexplainable mystery is alluring. This movie is so excellently everything'd. Am I wrong?

I also realized this is really an ensemble picture. Their, um, interesting family is expertly highlighted. It seems with the condensing came the removal of some of their arcs, weirdly. They were just there. But now, almost suddenly, their like existence makes sense. I'd put Fanny in this group, honestly - I just remembered her being there and eating and staring. But now I love her! That head-shift when the Bishop tries to touch her is now legendary for me. ♥

Lest we forget Alexander.

Bertil Guve gives what is perhaps my favorite child performance ever, which is a sub-section I've always been particularly fond of. It's not really his traditional acting, which probably isn't incredibly great - it's the character, the way he's written, the way everything else is made around him. So it's pretty much Bergman's fault this kid rocked so hard. Plus, I sorta have a crush on him. He's just so cute! And he didn't age that badly, too. I don't know!!!

So, concluding my fractured thoughts on this immortal masterpiece, I loved it not only more than I did the theatrical version, but also more than I ever dreamed I would. Don't ask me what I dreamed I would - it probably includes clowns - but it surpassed it. I said when I saw it the first time that it might be the greatest film ever made, so, if that's inferior... then my soul feels sweaty and giddy and sticky and at peace with the world. Yes, it's an orgasm joke.

VD Grade: ★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★ (out of five)

(BTW, Guve was almost going to be my contribution to Michael's Rug Rats Blog-a-Thon, but it got too complicated and I canned it, so I'm plugging it instead.)


nick plowman said...

I've never seen the TV version fully, like half of it, but omfg do I love the theatrical version Amazing, brilliant, and I need to go rent the TV version RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Marcy said...

I want to see the TV version now.

One of the very minor problems I had with the theatrical release is not only because I found it too lengthy, but a lot of length was from several unnecessary scenes that didn't seem to contribute to the film as a whole. I'm glad the TV version seems to solve the problem.

I like Bertil Guve's performance too, but my verdict has a lot to do with the way Guve played the character. But without Bergman's guidance, I doubt Guve could've delivered that kind of performance.

J.D. said...

That's actually my point, Marcy. Guve's perf. is drenched with Bergman's influence, which isn't a bad thing.

As for the scenes problem, I assume they were the random family scenes that didn't focus on Fanny, Alexander or their mother? Like I said in the post, they get a lot of scenes that weren't in the theatrical, so they're inclusion actually makes sense, and it doesn't seem as Alexander-centered as I thought it was.

And yes, SEE IT.

the misomaniac said...

the fact that bertil guve's acting career peaked at age 12 is slightly sad, non? i bet it sucks going through adult life as "that kid from fanny and alexander".

J.D. said...

"That kid from Fanny and Alexander" is a compliment, you depressive freak.