How Swede It Is: FANNY and ALEXANDER (Pt. 3)

Stuff I Learned from the Extras on the Criterion Collection 5 Disc Set of  “Fanny and Alexander”:

….. This film was Ingmar Bergman’s first experience working with children. Up until then he had thought kids would be too hard to control on set and would not take direction well. However, as the behind-the-scenes doc shows, the master filmmaker loved working with his two leads (and with all the children on the set, for that matter. )

Ingmar Bergman with Bertil Guve and Pernilla Allwin on the set of Fanny and Alexander
Ingmar Bergman with Bertil Guve and Pernilla Allwin on the set of Fanny and Alexander

.… Bergman had to borrow money for plane fare from live-in actress girlfriend Harriet Andersson to fly to Cannes where  studio execs had entered his 1955 comedy Smiles of a Summer Night without asking him first. The director said he first found out about his film’s success at the Cannes festival while sitting on the toilet at his home and reading the newspaper. 

fanny - smiles 2

….  The scene in which Death plays chess with a Knight in 1957’s The Seventh Seal is one of the most iconic images in the history of film. However, in his own words, Bergman tells us the scene was inspired by a painting he saw in a church. “Albertus Pictor’s painting, he was the famous medieval church painter. There’s a painting, Death playing chess with a Knight. So it all came naturally.”

Death (Bengt Ekerot) and  Antonius Block (Max von Sydow in The Seventh Seal
Death (Bengt Ekerot) and Antonius Block (Max von Sydow) in The Seventh Seal: “To paraphrase my old pal Bob Dylan ‘ You’re only a pawn in my game.’ “

… Bergman tells an interviewer he can’t stand to watch his own films.  “I get nervous and I start to cry. I need to pee and I feel miserable.”  (Come to think of it, that was my reaction while watching Cries and Whispers.)

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Author: rixbitz

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