It's much more about young Alexander than his little sister Fanny, and although it's best remembered as Ingmar Bergman's last film (it wasn't, technically, seeing as he's still alive and making movies today), might it also be his warmest film as well? Developed, like Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage, for Swedish television, and released in a shortened theatrical version later, 1982's Fanny and Alexander is a rich and surprisingly peaceful coda to one of film's most illustrious careers.

When I say "peaceful" I don't necessarily mean "reconciled." In Fanny and Alexander Bergman sums up the themes of a body of work in which the director often brought audiences to the edge of the abyss and invited them to contemplate the void; and here, using a child as his stand-in, Bergman illustrates very clearly how it is that this void found its genesis and why it can never quite be filled. The difference is that the dilemma of existence in Fanny and Alexander is shown through a child's eyes (Bergman seldom used children elsewhere) and it's suffused with the magic of childhood curiosity and discovery. The child, like Bergman, will grow to be an artist; the director says that tragedies like those that befall Alexander are a necessary part of that.

Continue reading: Fanny And Alexander Review