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By VINCENT CANBY Published: June 17, 1983, Friday EVEN as you watch In !ar "er !an#s new $il!, ##Fanny and %le&ander,## it has that 'uality o$ enchant!ent that usually attaches only to the best !o(ies in retros)ect, lon a$ter you#(e seen the!, when they#(e been absorbed into the !e!ory to see! sweeter, wiser, !ore !a ical than anythin e(er does in its own ti!e* +his i!!ediate resonance is the distin uishin $eature o$ this su)erb $il!, which is both 'uintessential "er !an and unli,e anythin else he has e(er done be$ore* ##Fanny and %le&ander## is a bi , dar,, beauti$ul, enerous, $a!ily chronicle, which touches on !any o$ the the!es $ro! earlier $il!s while introducin so!ethin that, in "er !an, !i ht )ass $or serenity* It !o(es between the worlds o$ reality and i!a ination with the e$$ortlessness characteristic o$ reat $iction as it tells the story o$ the 'uite !ar(elous E,dahl $a!ily* +he ti!e is 19-7, and the settin is the )ro(incial city o$ .))sala* +he E,dahls re)resent all that is !ost ci(ili/ed about the u))er !iddle classes* +he source o$ their !oney is co!!erce, but art is the center o$ their li(es* 0on be$ore the start o$ the $il!, 1scar E,dahl, a wealthy business!an, $ell in lo(e with and !arried 2elena 3andelbau!, a beauti$ul sta e actress, and built a theater $or her in .))sala* 4hen the $il! o)ens on 5hrist!as E(e, the E,dahl $a!ily is atherin $or its annual holiday rituals* 2elena, now old but still beauti$ul and a wo!an o$ reat style, $aces the $esti(ities with less 6oy than usual* 7he#s be innin to $eel her a e, and (arious !e!bers o$ the $a!ily worry her* 2er eldest son, 1scar, who now !ana es the theater and whose wi$e, E!ilie, is its star, is not loo,in well* E(en thou h he#s not a ood actor, she notes dryly, he is insistin on )layin the host in their new )rouction o$ ##2a!let*## 2er second son, 5arl, is a sel$8)ityin $ailure, a )ro$essor, who hates his career and loathes his ser(ile, 9er!an8born wi$e* +he youn est son, 9usta( %dol$, is a bon (i(ant, a success$ul restaurateur with a )retty wi$e, who lo(es hi! dearly and $inds his alliances with cha!ber!aids only natural, in (iew o$ his ine&haustible se&ual a))etites*

%!on the randchildren, 2elena#s $a(orites are %le&ander, who is a (ery sole!n, sa e 1-, and Fanny, se(eral years %le&ander#s 6unior, who are the children o$ 1scar and E!ilie* %lso (irtually a !e!ber o$ the household is Isa, Jacobi, a well8to8do anti'ues dealer and !oney lender who, years a o, was 2elena#s lo(er and, later, her husband#s best $riend* +i!e, in this $il!, is as soothin as it is relentless* ##Fanny and %le&ander## $ollows the $ortunes o$ the E,dahl $a!ily $or a little !ore than one tu!ultuous year, durin which the ailin 1scar dies o$ a stro,e and the newly widowed E!ilie !arries the local "isho), a stern, handso!e )relate o$ the sort who )reaches ##lo(e o$ truth## and whose se(erity his wo!en )arishoners $ind i!!ensely erotic* +hou h !ost o$ the $il! is seen throu h the eyes o$ %le&ander, all o$ ##Fanny and %le&ander## has the 'uality o$ so!ethin recalled $ro! a distance 8 e(ents re!e!bered either as they were e&)erienced or as they are i!a ined to ha(e ha))ened* In this $ashion 3r* "er !an succeeds in blendin $act and $antasy in ways that ne(er deny what we in the audience ta,e to be truth* ##Fanny and %le&ander## has the !anner o$ a lon , richly detailed tale bein related by so!eone who ac,nowled es all o$ the terrors o$ li$e without $indin in those terrors reason enou h to deny li$e#s )leasures* ##It is necessary and not in the least bit sha!e$ul,## a sli htly drun, 9usta( %dol$ says in the $il!#s $inal, 6oyous se'uence, ##to ta,e )leasure in the little world 8 ood $ood, entle s!iles, $ruit trees in bloo!, walt/es*## +his ha))y occasion is the ban'uet celebratin the 6oint christenin o$ his ille iti!ate dau hter by the )retty cha!ber!aid na!ed 3a6 and E!ilie#s new dau hter by the "isho)* 7ays 9usta( %dol$: ##0et us be ha))y while we are ha))y* 0et us be ,ind and enerous and a$$ectionate and ood*## +here are re)eated re$erences in ##Fanny and %le&ander## to this ##little world,## which in the $il! re$ers to the E,dahl#s theater, a )lace o$ !elodra!a, co!edy, drea!s, !a ic and !oral order, in contrast to the increasin chaos o$ li$e outside* +he world o$ ##Fanny and %le&ander## also has its share o$ !elodra!a and co!edy and !a ic and, $inally, o$ !oral order as it !i ht be )ercei(ed by a teller o$ $airy tales*

+he $il!#s !ost ri(etin se'uences are those that recount the unha))y ad(entures o$ E!ilie, when at the re'uest o$ her new husband, she ta,es Fanny and %le&ander to li(e in the "isho)#s )alace, carryin with the! no )ossessions e&ce)t the clothes they wear on their bac,s* +he "isho)#s )alace is a reat, terri$yin )rison, a blea, !ausoleu! do!inated by the scoldin )resences o$ the "isho)#s !other and un!arried sister and haunted by the hosts o$ the "isho)#s dead wi$e and two dead dau hters* 2ow Fanny and %le&ander are e(entually rescued, and how the "isho) !eets his co!e8u))ance, are a!on the !ost wondrous scenes 3r* "er !an has e(er reali/ed* +here#s also an e&traordinary se'uence set in Isa,#s cluttered anti'ues sho) where Fanny and %le&ander are hidden a$ter their rescue, es)ecially a scene, set in the !iddle o$ the ni ht, in which %le&ander is con(inced he#s ha(in a )hiloso)hical discourse with 9od* In contrast are the e&uberant E,dahl $a!ily et8to ethers, the lo(e scenes, the !o!ents o$ inti!acy between 2elena and old Isa,* +he host o$ the dead 1scar turns u) $re'uently, so!eti!es 6ust loo,in tired, so!eti!es worried about the way thin s are oin * In one beauti$ul !o!ent, 2elena, alone in her su!!er house in the country, loo,s u) to see 1scar watchin her* 2oldin his hand in hers, she says with in$inite, sweet sadness: ##I re!e!ber your hand as a boy* It was s!all and $ir! and dry*## +he !e!bers o$ the hu e cast are uni$or!ly e&cellent, !ost )articularly 9unn 4all ren, as 2elena: Ewa Frolon , who loo,s a lot li,e a youn 0i( .ll!ann, as E!ilie: Jan 3al!6o, as the tyrannical "isho), the character that, 3r* "er !an says, he !ost identi$ies with: Jarl ;ulle, as the li$e8lo(in 9usta( %dol$: %llan Edwell, as 1scar, both li(in and dead: "or6e %hlstedt, as 5arl: Erland Jose)hson, as Isa,: 2arriet %ndersson, as a $erocious !aid who tends the children at the bisho)#s )alace: Pernilla 4all ren, as 9usta( %dol$#s saucy !istress, and, o$ course, "ertil 9u(e, the re!ar,able youn boy who )lays %le&ander, and Pernilla %llwin, who )lays Fanny* ##Fanny and %le&ander,## which o)ens today at the 5ine!a I and 5ine!a 3, is still another triu!)h in the career o$ one o$ our reatest li(in $il! !a,ers*

+he #0ittle 4orld# F%NN< = %0E>%N?E@, direction and scri)t A7wedish with En lish subtitlesB by

In !ar "er !an: cine!ato ra)her, 7(en Ny,(ist: edited by 7yl(ia In e!arsson: !usic by ?aniel "ell, "en6a!in "ritten, Frans 2el!erson, @obert 7chu!ann and 3arianne Jacobs: )roduction co!)any, 5ine!ato ra)h %" $or the 7wedish Fil! Institute, the 7wedish +ele(ision 7V+ 1, 7weden, 9au!ont, France, Persona$il! and +obis Fil!,unst, "@?: released by E!bassy Pictures* %t 5ine!a I, +hird %(enue and C-th 7treet and 5ine!a 3, at the Pla/a* @unnin ti!e: 19- !inutes* Fanny E,dahl * * * * * Pernilla %llwin %le&ander E,dahl * * * * * "ertil 9u(e 5arl E,dahl * * * * * "or6e %hlstedt Justina * * * * * 2arriet %ndersson %ron * * * * * 3ats "er !an Fili) 0andahl * * * * * 9unnar "6ornstrand 1scar E,dahl * * * * * %llan Edwall Is!ael * * * * * 7tina E,blad E!ilie E,dahl * * * * * Ewa Frolin Isa, Jacobi * * * * * Erland Jose)hson 9usta( %dol$ E,dahl * * * * * Jarl ;ulle %unt E!!a * * * * * ;abi 0aretei %l!a E,dahl * * * * * 3ona 3al! "isho) Ed(ard Ver erus * * * * * Jan 3al!s6o 0ydia E,dahl * * * * * 5hristina 7chollin 2elena E,dahl * * * * * 9unn 4all ren 3a6 * * * * * Pernilla 4all ren

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