The Blue Raccoon

Monday, July 30, 2007

Strange Interlude: A fine (if haunted) writer speaks of a magnificent filmmaker. Both today are silenced.

Ingmar Bergman (July 14, 1918 - July 30, 2007)
Theresa Duncan (October 26, 1966 - July 10, 2007)

From The Wit of the Staircase of Theresa Duncan, Dec. 25, 2006

Magic, Wonder, And Even Ghosts: Fanny And Alexander's Christmas

Fanny_and_alexanderWit recommends fellow Swede Ingmar Bergman's Fanny And Alexander for a post-prandial December 25th film rental.

"Certainly the first act, which takes places at a rather vulgar overnight Christmas party at the Ekdahl family residence, is somewhat adult in terms of content. Grandmothers grow old and mourn the passing of their youth, wives forgive the blatant infidelities of their cheery husbands, and ruminations take place on the relationship between the real world outside and the sheltered little world of the theater that belongs to the family, and to which the family belongs. But the narrative is deliberately and delicately filtered through the eyes of the titular children, who watch it all happen...

When Alexander retreats to a darkened bedroom at day’s end, he fires up a magic lantern and entertains the other children by projecting stories onto the blank wall. The smell of paraffin draws his parents into the room, and his father, Oscar, lingers, picking up an ordinary wooden chair and regaling the children with a fanciful story about its alleged origins in Imperial China. This scene, not included in the film’s theatrical version, is important because it gives away the game — it is echoed later in the film, from the mouth of another storyteller, in a way that clearly suggests the narrative has moved inside Alexander’s own mind, where it’s embellished with the presence of magic, wonder and even ghosts."

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