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Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander returns to cinemas

Ingmar Bergman’s dreamlike chronicle of an extended family in early 20th-century Sweden returns to cinemas in time for Christmas 2022. Fanny and Alexander is an epic treat back on the big screen again, released by the BFI in selected cinemas UK-wide from 2 December for its 40th anniversary.

Drawing heavily on Ingmar Bergman’s own memories, FANNY AND ALEXANDER follows one tumultuous year in the life of the Ekdahl family through the eyes of 10-year-old Alexander (Bertil Guve), whose imagination fuels the magical goings-on leading up to and following the death of his father. It is attuned as ever to the anguish of life but there is much that is fondly recalled, from toy theatres and magic lantern shows to family Christmases and favoured relatives.

Geoff Andrew, BFI Programmer-at-large said “Partly autobiographical, partly a summation of his abiding themes, FANNY AND ALEXANDER is one of Ingmar Bergman’s most celebrated achievements.

Set in the early 1900s, it focuses on the Ekdahls, an extended, well-off family running an Uppsala theatre; their ups and downs are seen primarily through the imaginative eyes of young Alexander – a Bergman surrogate – and his sister Fanny. Though it deals, characteristically, with fraught relationships, fear and mortality, puritanical religion and moral dilemma, the film is generally lighter in tone than most of his work, succeeding as a warmly nostalgic tale of cruelty overcome by supportive love. At the same time, playfully and wittily alluding to earlier Bergman films, it revels in the illusionism of art and life alike. Magic!”

FANNY AND ALEXANDER won multiple awards around the world. It was nominated for six Oscars, winning four: Best Foreign Language Film, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design. Three BAFTA nominations resulted in another win for Best Cinematography for the great Sven Nykvist, well-known for his work with Bergman.

Originally conceived as a television miniseries, a shorter cut was made for cinemas and released first. The television version, at 312 minutes long, has also been shown in cinemas on occasion, making the list of the longest films ever made.

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