Fanny and Alexander is a wonderful Swedish language costume drama of two orphaned Swedish children in a large, protective family. Alexander often wears kneepants sailor suits and long stockings. A real classic. Alexander (Bertil Guve), who I would say is about 12 years old, and his sister are the center of the movie and many scenes are shot from their point of view, although there are long involved scenes without them. The children have an idyllic childhood until their widowed mother remarries. Alexander falls out with his hypochritical stepfather and his hideous mother and sister. They have a far different idea about how children should be brought up. Set in Sweden at the turn of the century. Alexander wears several knee pant sailor suits. There is also a younger boy, a cousin of Alexander, who appears briefly in a few scenes. He wears a sailor suit with short white socks, Alexander always wears long stockings. He also appears a lot in a night dress. The boy plays his part beautifully. I thought it was especially touching how he clung to his teddy bear. The director was the famed Ingemar Bergman.
Fanny and Alexander is a film masterpiece. It is not only a Sewdish film classic, but appears on some lists of the best films ever made. It is surely one of the best known Swedish films and my personal favorite. The movie is a wonderful Swedish language costume drama of two orphaned Swedish children in a large, protective family. The film was directed by Ingemar Bergman. Fanny and Alexander is one of Bergman’s best films, certainly the most understandable. It won the best foreign picture Oscar for 1983 which was an excellent choice. The film is loosely autobiographical movie. Precocious Alexander represents Bergman himself, who had a difficult relationship with his father--a strict clergyman. Hopefully not quite as strict as portrayed in the film.
Alexander (Bertil Guve), who I would say is about 12 years old, and his sister Fanny (Pernilla Allwin) are the center of the movie and many scenes are shot from their point of view, although there are long involved scenes without them. The boy plays his part beautifully. I thought it was especially touching how he clung to his teddy bear in one scene. Bertil Guve beautifully played Alexander with charming sincerity. Bishop Vergerus (Jan Malmsjö) is chillingly portrayed. Isak Jacobi (Erland Josephson) is the Jewish resucer with a rather spooky house.
The Ekdahl children, Alexander and his younger sistr Fanny, belong to a large, wealthy theatrical family with somewhat Bohemian tastes in provincial Sweden. They have an idyllic childhood until their widowed mother remarries. Bishop Vergerus proves to be a strict autonomon as well as abusive and their life becomes stark and unhappy--a far cry from their previous life. Alexander who is susposed to be about 10-yerars old falls out with his hypochritical stepfather and his stepfather's hideous mother and sister. They have a far different idea about how children should be brought up. Alexander is strong willed and considerable spunk which gets him into trouble with his stepfather. Isak Jacobi (Erland Josephson), an old family friend, rescues them.
Set in Sweden at the turn of the century. I think about 1907. It was filmed in Bergman's hometown of Uppsala.
The costuming in "Fanny and Alexander" is exceptionally accurate. Bergman took special pains to reproduce the dress of the period (1900-10 Sweden) with great accuracy, as explained in the documentary mentioned below. For dress-up occasions Alexander wears sailor suits, usually white, with long black stockings. Alexander often wears kneepants sailor suits and long stockings. He wore both white and blue sailor suits. There is also a younger boy, a cousin of Alexander, who appears briefly in a few scenes. He wears a sailor suit with short white socks. Moth Alexander and his younger cousin are seen here (figure 1). Alexander always wears long stockings. In more casual attire he sometimes wore brown long stockings as seen here (figure 2). Alexander wore black long stockings when he dressed up in his sailor suit. brown and black long stockings, but never white ones. Alexander's play clothes are equally interesting. In the scene here you have him kneeling beside a chair and wearing a brown sweater, rather short knee pants (almost like shorts), and long brown stockings held up by supporters. You can see the clasp of his garter (figure 2). Alexander's kneepants look to be flannel, but I am not sure about that. He wears high-top shoes. In the second shot, he wears a narrow striped jersey or knitted shirt, black shorts, and black long stockings. Alexander also appears a lot in a night dress.
A documentary was made about the filming of thhis classic Swedish film. It was entitled simoly "The Making of `Fanny and Alexander'". It contains some scenes that were not used in the earlier film, and is interesting for the historical accuracy of the costuming. The documentary was released in 1983. Here we see a couple of school boys wearing the typical Swedish dress of about 1910--sailor suits with middy blouses, caps with visors, backpacks for school books, short knee pants, black long stockings, and high-top shoes. The boys look to be about 12 to 13 years old.
A HBC reader has mentioned the uncut version (over five hours) of the original version of Bergman's masterpiece, "Fanny and Alexander" (1983). The cut version that Bergman made for commercial release in cinemas around the world is discussed on the page here. This version is considered by film critiques to be artistically inferior to Bergman's original conception. Recently the full version has been made available. It contains many scenes
that are omitted from the so-called theatrical version. Our reader has provided some information on the uncut version.
An Australian reader writes, Fanny and Alexander is a complete masterpiece of a 5 star movie. I thought this movie is one of the better foreign films that I have seen and the costumery was both exquisite and spot on in every conceivable way. I thought I was in 1907 and living in Sweden and in complete luxury. The Bishop I really and honestly wanted to kill him myself but the lady did it. The story ripped my heart out and I ached
to help both Fanny and Alexander escape from the dispicable stepfather."
A Canadian reader writes, " In the second part of the film, when the bishop marries the
mother, you have a good idea of a certain kind of religious repression many children of my generation experienced. Every clothing detail is authentic. It is a beautifully done film."
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