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Diamond, D. (2007). Attachment Disorganization and Creativity in Fanny and Alexander. Psychoanal. Inq., 27(4):474-480.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 27(4):474-480

Attachment Disorganization and Creativity in Fanny and Alexander

Diana Diamond

There are Many Indications that Fanny and Alexander (2004) represents Bergman's struggle to find creative resolution to the traumatic and unintegrated aspects of his own childhood experiences. In a reflecting on his life in film, Bergman stated, “From the very beginning, one can see that with Fanny and Alexander I have landed in the world of my childhood” (Bergman, 1990, p. 366). The bifurcated and unresolved nature of his own early attachment experiences is readily evident in Bergman's (1988) autobiography, The Magic Lantern. On the one hand he offers the global idealization, “I look back on my early years with delight and curiosity. My imagination and senses were given nourishment…and I remember nothing dull, in fact the days and hours kept exploding with wonders, unexpected sights and magical moments…” (Bergman, 1988, p. 13). On the other hand, Bergman begins his autobiography by telling us that his mother had Spanish influenza when he was born and was not able to breast feed him. He writes, “I suffered from several indefinable illnesses and could never really decide whether I wanted to live at all” (p. 1).

At the beginning of Fanny and Alexander, Helena, the luminous matriarch of the Ekdahl theatrical clan, echoes this bifurcated view of life when she confides to her friend and ex-lover, Isaac Jacobi, “The happy splendid life is over and the horrible dirty life engulfs us.” There is no doubt that, in Fanny and Alexander, Bergman intended to portray the “happy splendid life” or the “joyful side of his nature and experience” (Bergman, 1988, p. 11).

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