Two estranged sisters, Ester and Anna, and Anna's 10-year-old son travel to the Central European country on the verge of war. Ester becomes seriously ill and the three of them move into a hotel in a small town called Timoka.
Marianne, some thirty years after divorcing Johan, decides to visit her ex-husband at his summer home. She arrives in the middle of a family drama between Johan's son from another marriage and his granddaughter.
It's the early twentieth century Sweden. Adolescent siblings Alexander and Fanny Ekdahl lead a relatively joyous and exuberant life with their well-off extended paternal family, led by the family matriarch, their grandmother, Helena Ekdahl. The openness of the family culture is exemplified by Helena's now deceased husband ending up becoming best friends with one of her lovers, a Jewish puppet maker named Isak Jacobi, and their Uncle Gustav Adolf's open liaison with one of the family maids, Maj, who everyone in the family adores, even Gustav Adolf's wife, Alma. Between the siblings, Alexander in particular has inherited the family's love of storytelling, his parents and his grandmother who are actors and who manage their own theater. Things change for Alexander and Fanny when their father, Oscar, dies shortly after Christmas 1907. Although she truly does believe she loves him, the children's mother, Emilie, decides to marry Bishop Edvard Vergérus, who she first met as the officiate at ...Written by
Ingmar Bergman intended for this to be his last feature, although he subsequently wrote several more screenplays, directed for television and indeed helmed one last cinema release, Saraband (2003). See more »
Among the Christmas decorations in the Ekdahl house, there is a garland of miniature flags of Scandinavian countries, including the Finnish flag. The Finnish flag was in fact only designed and adopted after Finnish independence in 1917, a decade after the events of the film. See more »
I need to see this again, if only to get a better look at the Grandmother's house. I loved this film on so many levels - I liked the ideas presented in the movie and all that but mostly I loved staring into their lovely faces and taking in all the interiors. Oh heck, the exteriors too, now that I think of it. It's the best kind of movie, there's so much to see, to think about, to feel and to experience. And to admire.
I like it that it's a little loopy and fantastic, which usually turns me off completely in movies and literature because when the creator trots out fantastic elements I almost always feel like they're over reaching and could have used ordinary life as a vehicle of expression but are too lazy. It's like they want to underline it: big idea folks! Don't miss it. IB takes a bunch of schlocky devices and proves that in the right hands, they all can work: the imagining of the fire, for instance, or the stark face off of good and evil, or the dangerous homosexual, the heavy handed symbolism, the play within a play. All corny elements we've seen too much of but fresh and compelling in this picture, even after 25 years. In fact, I was reminded again and again of my childhood and how I had first encountered many ideas. What did I think of Hamlet when I was forced to read it in the 7th grade? What did I think about life when I was forced to confront it with my developing brain? Have I lived up to my ideals? The best movies change you. This one has certainly given my a new standard for domestic beauty. I'm going to put a little lace on my sideboard today and cut some flowers. My little world.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this