Saturday, 14 March 2009

Bergman's Fanny and Alexander begins

The intention had been to watch Chronos the prequel to Pan's Labyrinth but there was difficulty in loading so I turned to the first disk of Fanny and Alexander, the TV version of 312 minutes. I had previously experienced the 188 minute original theatre version and the full version, but some years ago, before attempting to view as many of the films of Ingmar Bergman that I could find on DVD

I sat for a few minutes trying to remember the story, the subjects, the moods, and even during the long introduction which covers the involvement of an artistic family during Christmas celebrations in Uppsala in 1907, the year of the birth of my mother, and the Swedish Oxford town which I visited in 1963. This, the last film theatre version, the antithesis of the action movie, is used by Ingmar Bergman to re-explore the main themes of all his previous work.

It is Christmas and Alexander and Fanny are the children of the influential and wealthy Ekdahl family who are able to afford running a theatrical company and theatre in which their mother is a staring actress Emilie and their father the director. They live in the extended family home of many servants and where the remains of the Christmas evening dinner will feed the rest of the town. We learn much of the way of life and behaviour of the family and its society during 24 hours which includes a nativity play attended by the top society of the of the community, the preparations for the family Christmas dinner in which the servants participate and where the remains of the meal will feed all the poor of the area, and of how they spend the short time before attending mass taken by the Bishop, a contemporary Casanova cum Marquis De Sade.

I had forgotten this crucial aspect of the film, which arrived at random rather than a planned choice for this moment when I had decided to end my 101 Reformed Marquis Project, (The Master) after approaching 101 enthusiasts, having previously intended to continue until I had engaged in 101 conversations in the role, because of the urgent need to switch to Romeo and a Juliet, that is one Romeo and one Juliet having decided to begin the writing of one work to replace Fragments of Time and Fragments of Memory, while travelling on the train from Newcastle to London on June 29th, 2. 42pm.

Having recently re-experienced the film, the Butterfly Effect, based on chaos theory whereas I contend that everything is explainable given the ability to trace the interactions of all human and other life form behaviour and natural phenomena from all time previous, I am caught in a situation where I decide to fundamentally change my life because after being contacted by someone who reason and the knowledge of others says does not exist, then "know" the time is right to write the book of books, just as when I knew, within months of that first visit to the Tyneside Baltic about to celebrate its fifth anniversary, and decide to bring to a premature end the 101 the reformed Marquis De Sade persona, I attend by accident a film which glorifies sadistic violence to make the Marquis into a cuddly teddy bear, and then two mornings after an extraordinary woman sits opposite me in a train and watching her enter the Victoria Station Boots, I find her before me in a queue in the same Boots in a situation where I had exited a train on the same route. but bought two newspapers and read them stretching one cup of coffee for half an hour, and then to day, I received a response to my one hundred and first De Sade project request, and then after failed attempts to change this keyboard from English into Russian characters ?? ???? ?? ???????? ? ?????? ????? ??? ?? ?????? ???? ????? it does so and I quickly work out how to switch back and forth! Why I ask myself are you learning to write using Russian characters is a question I hope to explain? And what has this all to do with the experience of re-watching Fanny and Alexander? To be accurate after watching the first disk and first three hours of the film which I will complete after an early lunch, it is 11.30, checking my e mail and if there has been a snail mail delivery.

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