Friday, September 14, 2007

[insert future title here]


tonight i saw a movie that blasted into my top 10, and, as i've had even a little time to think about it, probably my top 5.
ingmar bergman's 'fanny and alexander'.
i went to see it because it's a landmark of world cinema, the last major work by one of the pantheon's greatest directors. going in, i was expecting a good movie, but didn't think it would be better than the iconic 'seventh seal'.
this far surpassed it.

the movie was made for swedish television as a five-hour miniseries, and later released as a three-hour version for international theatrical release. about two hours into it, i realized that there had not been a false step anywhere. i began to get an excitement that took me a few moments to place: it's the same feeling i get when i watch '2001', when a movie is so near-perfect that every line, every look, every movement is amazing. in the third act it got a little weird to the point that i wasn't sure what to think, but in retrospect, i still hold that there is not a frame out of place.

during the movie i began to wonder how to write about it. i still don't know what to say. i need some time to let it settle. to think about all that i saw. the audience seemed to generally enjoy it [before the show, i was wondering about that: who goes to see ingmar bergman? returned missionaries from sweden? world cinema buffs? have they seen other bergman movies, or did they just happen to wander in here?], but i was very pleased when, as the credits rolled, my friend and i sat there in a moment of silence [after the applause] until he softly said, 'wow.'

i'd like to write about it, but i don't know if i can. there were so many themes, ideas, stories, thoughts, characters, and moments, all layered and interwoven using every element of cinema so skillfully that i feel i could barely scratch the surface. bear in mind that i'm still on the 'high' from the movie, but this may be the most perfect movie i've ever seen.

afterward there was a faculty-led discussion for those who were interested, and there were about ten of us who were interested. i didn't plan on saying anything; my thoughts were still too fluid and i just wanted to hear others' ideas, theories and interpretations.
the discussion did help me to better understand somethings and begin to further see what i saw. but it was also exciting to be back in an academic environment. my dear friend em has written before about the empty space that graduation can leave, and i didn't realize how much i had missed the dialogue of academia until i was walking out of the theater.

i was beginning to shake with... i don't even know what, but i had to share it with someone who would appreciate it and appreciate it with me. on the phone, i couldn't stop talking, even though half the time i wasn't even sure what to say except that it was fascinating and intriguing and thought-provoking and and and here i am again, not even sure what to say.

but wow.
top five.


Em said...

that is an overwhelming amount of reading you've just provided me!

(and did you see the 3 or 5 hour version?)
I have both in my Netflix queue, and am wondering if I should consolidate.

But I will definitely bump it up from being in position #328-331
in my queue!

-->jeff * said...

true, i did just put up 24 postings. but i haven't been on your blog in a while, so i've got plenty to get caught up on myself!

i saw the 3-hour version of 'fanny and alexander'. i've got the criterion set of both versions on my amazon wishlist. i'll let you know when i see the five-hour version.

thanks for reading. ; )

Dane said...

You've inspired me! I just requested the movie from one of our remote library branches. Can't wait to see it...

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen this one yet, but I am a big fan of Bergman's Wild Strawberries and The Seventh Seal. I'll be sure to put this on my list of movies to see.
-Kyle Wright