Fanny & Alexander [Criterion Collection] [5 Discs] [DVD]

  • SKU: 6925615
  • Release Date: 11/16/2004
  • Rating: R
Honored writer and director Ingmar Bergman's final masterpiece, Fanny & Alexander, gets a long-awaited deluxe DVD treatment thanks to this magnificent five-disc release from The Criterion Collection. Every inch of this release, from the DVD menu design to the box set packaging, is a perfect example of the classic Criterion style. Things get off to a roaring start with the full-length (312-minute) version of the film broadcast on Swedish television in 1984. This version, which is Bergman's preferred cut of the film, has never been available on home video in the U.S. The film's 1.66:1 aspect ratio looks stunning, and the film, which is split up on two discs, features remarkably sharp picture quality and audio done in an all-new high-definition digital transfer. The second disc features one of the set's first hidden gems -- a new documentary titled "A Bergman Tapestry." This nearly 40-minute retrospective features new interviews with many of the surviving cast and crew members from Fanny & Alexander. Next up is the more familiar 188-minute theatrical cut of the film. While the picture and audio mix appears the same, this disc features an insightful commentary from film scholar Peter Cowie and the film's original theatrical trailer. Between the television and theatrical versions, fans with time to spare can finally compare and contrast the two very different versions of the same story. The set's final two discs consist of a treasure trove of rare items sure to thrill Bergman enthusiasts. First, there is the long-awaited Bergman-directed feature-length documentary The Making of Fanny & Alexander. In the documentary, the viewer has the rare opportunity to get a glimpse into Bergman's on-set behavior, his attention to detail, and his relationship with actors. Next up is a Swedish television special titled Ingmar Bergman Bids Farewell to Film in which we see a very relaxed Bergman lounging on a couch as he discusses his childhood, his career, and why he quit making films. A stills gallery, sketches of the film's Oscar-winning costume design, and video footage of Anna Asp's set designs round off this fourth disc. The fifth and final disc features a fascinating special made once again for Swedish television, only this time in 2003, when we see the 85-year-old director looking back on 11 of his films and offering thoughts on what those films meant to him when he made them and what they mean to him today. For several of the films, the original U.S. theatrical trailers are included. As if all this were not enough, Criterion has included a beautifully made booklet containing choice photos from the film and essays from film critics and writers from around the world. An outstanding DVD package for an outstanding film, Criterion's five-disc Fanny & Alexander will be a prized possession for any serious cinemagoer.
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Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfers
  • Ingmar Bergman's feature-length documentary The Making of Fanny Alexander, presented here for the first time on DVD in a new high-definition digital transfer
  • "Ingmar Bergman Bids Farewell to Film," a one-hour conversation between Bergman and Nils Petter Sundgren made for Swedish television in 1984
  • Audio commentary on the theatrical version by film scholar Peter Cowie
  • "A Bergman Tapestry," a new documentary featuring exclusive interviews with cast and crew
  • Rare introductions by Bergman to 11 of his films
  • A selection of Bergman theatrical trailers
  • Costume sketches and video footage of the models for the film's sets
  • Optional English-dubbed soundtrack on the theatrical version
  • Stills gallery
  • New and improved English subtitle translations
  • 36-page booklet featuring new essays by documentarian and film historian Stig Björkman, novelist Rick Moody, and film scholar Paul Arthur


Fanny & Alexander
In 1982, Ingmar Bergman emerged with one of his most singularly acclaimed films - a work that dramatically broke away from much of the moody psychodrama that characterized such earlier motion pictures as Cries & Whispers and Hour of the Wolf. Entitled Fanny and Alexander, and originally intended as the director's "swan song," this epic plunges into the life of a theatrical family named the Ekdahls, in turn-of-the-century Sweden. Bergman filters life through the eyes of the two titular Ekdahl children (Pernilla Alwin and Bertil Guve), as they come of age, lose their father unexpectedly, and must contend with their mother's remarriage to an uncaring, dictatorial clergyman from whom there seems to be no escape. Instantly hailed as a masterpiece, Fanny won a slew of international awards, including four Oscars. Yet curiously, the three-hour theatrical version seen in the U.S. did not represent the full depth and breadth of Bergman's vision. He also prepared a five-hour version for Swedish television, one that ran locally as a miniseries in 1984, in four separate installments. The extended running time gives the director to further develop and flesh out his characters, substories and themes, and will thus strike many fans of the original film as a remarkable discovery. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

Fanny & Alexander
Though he made allusions to his own life in all of his films, Fanny and Alexander was the first overtly autobiographical film by Ingmar Bergman. Taking his time throughout (188 minutes to be exact), Bergman recreates several episodes from his youth, using as conduits the fictional Ekdahl family. Alexander, the director's alter ego, is first seen at age 10 at a joyous and informal Christmas gathering of relatives and servants. Fanny is Alexander's sister; both suffer an emotional shakedown when their recently-widowed mother (Ewa Froling) marries a cold and distant minister. Stripped of their creature comforts and relaxed family atmosphere, Fanny and Alexander suddenly find their childhood unendurable. The kids' grandmother (Gunn Wallgren) "kidnaps" Fanny and Alexander for the purpose of showering them with the first kindness and affection that they've had since their father's death. This "purge" of the darker elements of Fanny and Alexander's existence is accomplished at the unintentional (but applaudable) cost of the hated stepfather's life. Ingmar Bergman insisted that Fanny and Alexander, originally a multipart television series pared down to feature-film length, represented his final theatrical film, though within a year after its release he was busy with several additional Swedish TV projects, and his final work, the 2003 Saraband (also produced for Swedish television), eventually received global theatrical distribution. Oscars went to Fanny and Alexander for Best Foreign Film, Best Cinematography (Sven Nykvist), Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction/Set Decoration. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Making of Fanny and Alexander
Shot as a record of Ingmar Bergman's directing techniques while he was making Fanny and Alexander, this informative documentary is geared more to the filmmaker and film buff or Bergman fans than it is toward a general audience. The famous Swedish icon is shown acting out scenes as he would like them, moving and gesticulating to help get his point across. He does not use much verbal explanation, yet his actors and crew hang on his every word, knowing that his insight is worth understanding. Even though he has high expectations, Bergman is patient and keeps an ambience of friendship and openness among his crew and cast. He is a bit more loquacious in a dialogue with his cameraman, Sven Nykvist. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Pernilla Allwin
    Pernilla Allwin - Fanny Ekdahl
  • Bertil Guve
    Bertil Guve - Alexander Ekdahl
  • Image coming soon
    Gunn Wållgren - Helena Ekdahl
  • Börje Ahlstedt
    Börje Ahlstedt - Helena's son Prof. Carl Ekdahl
  • Allan Edwall
    Allan Edwall - Oscar Ekdahl

Customer rating

would recommend to a friend
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Never Been Muvh of a Fan


    I have never really been a fan of this film. I love Ingmar Bergman. I recommend checking out Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal, or Persona.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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