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Fanny and Alexander (Special Edition Five-Disc Set) - Criterion Collection


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Fanny and Alexander (Special Edition Five-Disc Set) - Criterion Collection + The Seventh Seal (The Criterion Collection) + Wild Strawberries
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Product Details

  • Actors: Bertil Guve, Pernilla Allwin, Kristina Adolphson, Börje Ahlstedt, Kristian Almgren
  • Directors: Ingmar Bergman
  • Writers: Ingmar Bergman
  • Producers: Daniel Toscan du Plantier, Jörn Donner, Renzo Rossellini
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, German, Swedish, Yiddish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: Nov. 23 2004
  • Run Time: 312 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000305ZYS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #20,790 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)


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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

By Jan on Jan. 3 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Of course it's a stunningly moving film--it's Bergman, mature and alight with brilliance. But the product itself is excellent; the second DVD fascinating.
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Format: Blu-ray
As many already know, this magnificent Criterion blu-ray contains the film in two forms; the original,
longer TV mini-series, and a version trimmed down for theatrical release.

But this is a masterpiece however you cut it. Somehow, in one film, Bergman has managed to combine
tragedy, broad and subtle humor, melodrama, philosophy, mystery, magical realism, kitchen sink reality,
controlled performances and big bombastic performances, etc. and weave it all into an organic whole with
a wonderfully (and shockingly for Bergman) positive message about the joy of life, the importance of
savoring family, friends, passions, and the moment itself while we can.

Populated by an unforgettable gallery of characters based on Bergman's own familial history, this is an
intimate epic that takes us inside the lives of an upper-class, artistic Swedish family soon after the start
of the 20th century and the misfortunes and triumphs that befall them. Not quite like any other film I've
ever seen - either by Bergman or anyone else. This is a child's eye view of the world, mixed with the
wisdom of an aging man looking back, with a kind eye, on life itself.

It's strange to say, perhaps blasphemy, but I actually liked the cut down feature a touch more than
the 4 part TV version it was cut from. For me, there is something a little more focused and impactful
about it. Perhaps that's just because I saw it first, but much like Altman's 'Vincent & Theo' (which also
was first shown as a European mini-series) I found the extra material pulled my attention a few too
many places, and sometimes answered mysteries I liked remaining as mysteries. But I will freely admit
I'm in the minority, and to be clear I LOVE both versions.
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Format: DVD
Looking for a movie which has everything and anything for the whole family? Looking for a substantial cameo of past European culture and human passion? Looking for lives and loves as Nordic as Carlsberg, Løytens akkevit, IKEA or Kalajastatorppa? Drama, comics and antics antique and young and fresh? No need to search further than this miracle of a movie, Fanny and Alexander, by the late great Ingmar Bergman, his last and ultimate work for the screen. This fabulous fable on film describes the history of the Ekdahl family , a reasonably well-to-do group of adults and children in the high bourgeois circles of the years before the horrors of World War One, playing, say, around 1905. Not only is there a kaleidoscopic mix of pastoral idyll, although Bergman's phobia of (Lutheran) pastors weighs in strongly in the latter part of the movie, and high drama, but it all gives an intimate picture of Sweden with its folklore and festivals, but also with the pride and prejudice of life in that country of booze and birches as it was a hundred years ago. All is as perceived by the young siblings, Fanny and Alexander, whose wide-open eyes register the antics of farbror(uncle)Karlchen, the indebted professor with his hysteric German wife, of the meandering, philandering other uncle, Gustav Adolf, the mild but doomed theatre director Oscar, the children's dad, his widow, the ethereal Emilie, and her dreadful bishop, stately old and beautiful grandma Helena with her tender Jewish lover Isak Jacobi. If you know and love the water-colour images from his home by the likewise Swedish artist, Carl Larsson, from that very same epoch, this most literary masterpiece is for you and your family. This is not a one-night stand, you would want to see it over and over. The copy of the present reviewer has discreet English subtitles to the Swedish sounds, so far (2012) there seems to be no French version available. Never mind the language, but here you have a gem for your DVD collection!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By rand0mdude@aol.com on June 29 1999
Format: VHS Tape
I cannot even begin to describe the excellence this film posesses, radiates, and emanates. This is Bergman's epic masterpiece, a wonderful tale of two siblings who try to cope with their death of their father and their mother's marriage to an ultrareligious ogre through magic and illusion. It has within what is probably the best art direction in the history of cinema, but be forewarned that this is no costume romp. Instead it is a deftly woven tale of a genuinely loving family and their resistance, in the end, to evil. Great performances, production design, writing, and especially directing make this film, truly, the best picture in the history of cinema. I would not say that easily either. Please see this movie, your mind will grow because of it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Javed Her'aat on May 10 2009
Format: DVD
An earlier reviewer compared the film to literature. It is a tempting comparison. Fanny and Alexander is rich and dense, in the best sense of those words; it gathers and resolves itself at a novel's pace; it is crammed with secondary characters and, without being digressive, it gives glimpses of those lives as well.

The Christmas celebration scenes of the first Act are filled with an exuberance and joy which have rarely been better expressed in art--the only real equivalents I can think of are literary (the party scene in "The Dead", or Nikolai Rostov's homecoming in "War and Peace"). This being the universe of serious art, however, dread and death still skulk about and, though they do strike, the film never becomes oppressive but instead transforms gradually into a marvellous fairy tale.

I have seen the Seventh Seal, Hour of the Wolf, Persona, Shame, Scenes from a Marriage, and Cries and Whispers. Fanny and Alexander is the Bergman film I most love.

The Criterion DVD transfer is beautiful. This movie makes me wish I had a large, wide-screen television on which to watch it. The five-disc set includes both the original theatrical release (approximately three hours) and the even longer version which Bergman made for Swedish television. Most people will be content with owning the three hour version, which Criterion has made separately available for about half the price. While the television version feels even more novelistic--secondary characters get more time, certain details get filled in, and certain themes are allowed fuller expression--I cannot say that it is definitively better. Each version has its particular appeal and indeed is a different film.
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