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"I saw the 5 hour preferred version,which was how it was released on tv(like Scenes from a Marriage) instead of the 3 hour theatrical version.made as his swansong to his film career.He imbues childhood with all the warmth and magic he possibly could.This film could have been called merely 'Alexander' but as it stands she is his ear,foil and sister in solidarity. Bergman has made a semi-autobiographical film only he has changed the order of things around a bit.He came from a severe Lutheran background in which he was very repressed by his pastor father.In the film he is not born into this family,it is his step-family,that his mother marries into when her actor husband dies. The children having formerly come from a big extended bohemian family of actors have to suffer the rigours of their new,cruel Pastor father who chastises them to separate truth from fiction.The contrast between the old household of the heart and the new household with it's tones of black and white couldn't be more different.The children are helped to escape in a chest by a friend of the family.The mother-by now pregnant- can only get away later after sedating her husband.The large family is reunited and babies are born,one to a maid by a philandering uncle.The pastor dies in a house fire.You feel in this film although Bergman speaks of God,faith and utilizes ghosts he has cast out the tormenting demons of his youth as he glorifies the magic of art and the imagination.The tone throughout is light hearted,the colour schemes are beautiful and the cinematograhy exquisite.An actress-Harriet Anderson-plays an elderly nanny who scares the young siblings with frightening stories.The lady who plays the grandmother is a famous Interpreter of Stindberg who gets to read for a part in his 'Dreamplay' in the closing scene with young Alexander lying on her lap.this can be compared to the best of Bergman and placed alongside the two trilogies.A fitting end to a great career."

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