Fatherhood in “Fanny” (1961)


It is no wonder that “Fanny” is considered “classics”. It displays a theme that is relevant to any human being regardless of their age, citizenship, and status.

It turns out that classics can be very entertaining without even showing you any sexually explicit scenes or nude scenes like our contemporary movies. Not only women, now men too are objectified even more.

After watching the movie here, I like it even more as I found no antagonist character.

Every character is round and seemingly real. What I mean by “real” is that they have innately bright and dark sides, acceptable and unacceptable aspects, desirable and undesirable traits in the eyes of us viewers. These characters are not fully evil. Neither are they entirely angelic. They are just like people around us. Like us!

As a man myself, I can easily relate to Marius and what he feels about marriage. As much as he loves Fanny, a girl at his own age and whom he has known since his tender age, he also longs for an adventurous life as a sailor. At 18, Marius is an able-bodied young man who thinks he should go outside of his father’s small bar at Marseille’s waterfront. Thanks to Admiral’s advice, Marius decided to embrace the free life of sailor on a voyage around the world.

But Marius is also a man who longs for affection and love. He falls for Fanny and the night before Marius planned his escape from Marseille, they slept together and that is when the conflict arises.

Fanny believes she should let Marius go because she cannot let her lover sad and leave his dream of adventure at sea behind. But Marius also cannot make up his mind. He expects Fanny to hold him back. And thus he thinks Fanny doesn’t love him enough, accusing her of devising a plan to accept Pannise, an older and successful merchant who fails to have his own offspring after many years of marriage.

So when Fanny realizes she is conceiving Marius’ child, she panics. She loves Marius so much but he is nowhere around her. Pannise, whom she doesn’t love as much, is ready to accept her as is, ready to splurge her with love and prestige and certainty of future for the fetus.

Pannise, to my surprise, is not a fully antagonistic character. He too is a decent human who has a tender side. Though he wants Marius and Fanny’s son as a successor of his family business, he is aware that Marius is the biological father of the baby and can never change the fact.

Here we are displayed with a conflict that is beyond evil and good. Both characters are decent and they have their own situations to justify their actions. Marius is actually a responsible man but he loves sea too much. Pannise is actually a kind hearted man but he loves a much younger woman. Fanny is also a good girl, not as materialistic as we think, who happens to make a mistake and loves a man who is so young and too immature to make his own decision. Each character has their own fair share of problem and inner conflicts.

And I like most when Cesar (Marius’ father) said when Marius demands his ownership of the son after his comeback at Pannise’s mansion. This line is uttered when Marius and Pannise are arguing which one of them deserves to be called a father.

“A father is the one who loves…” – Cesar (Fanny, 1961)

Humans can change. After Marius knows his son and they meet each other thanks to Admiral’s help, he soon realizes that his son named Cesario needs him more than sea and the adventures that await him. (*/)

Author: akhlis

Writer & yogi

2 thoughts on “Fatherhood in “Fanny” (1961)”

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