If you’re in Vancouver for the holidays, stop by the Cinematheque for the theatrical version of Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander, which screens as part of the weeklong series Essential Cinema! Essential Big Screen! Seen through the eyes of the ten-year-old hero, Alexander, this sprawling portrait of childhood chronicles the conflicts and intrigues that arise within an unruly, turn-of-the-century Swedish clan as they celebrate Christmas together. Bergman captures the festivities in warm, sumptuous detail, but the specter of mortality soon enters the protagonist’s life, marking this ode to youthful innocence with unexpected tragedy. Mixing magical realism and boisterous good humor with notes of Bergman’s trademark melancholy, this ambitious family epic won four Academy Awards and stands as one of the director’s most emotionally complex and autobiographical works.
Those in Vancouver can see Fanny and Alexander tonight, Friday, and next Monday on 35 mm.