The pretentious critic Cornelius is writing a biography on a famous cellist and to do some research he goes to stay in his house for a few days. He doesn't manage to get an interview with ... See full summary »
During WW2 in neutral Sweden, young sailor Bo, son of a railway stationmaster, comes home from the Navy and reminisces a childhood accident. At age twelve, he ran away in a steam locomotive... See full summary »
Ingmar Bergman's The Serpent's Egg follows a week in the life of Abel Rosenberg, an out-of-work American circus acrobat living in poverty-stricken Berlin following Germany's defeat in World... See full summary »
Rakel, Marta, Karin and Annette are married to four brothers. While waiting in a summer cottage for their husbands to come home, they tell each other stories about their marriages. Rakel ... See full summary »
The elderly Arnolphe has decided to marry a young woman, Agnes, whom he has fallen in love with. She is too young and innocent to realize what plans he has for her. But Agnes and Arnolphe's... See full summary »
In Sweden, the upper-class pianist Bengt Vyldeke suffers an accident in the military drill and becomes blind. He returns to the house of his aunt Beatrice Schröder and is initially ... See full summary »
A small picturesque town at the turn of the century. The conservative moral of the townspeople is shaken when they find out that the school teacher Franzén published his own poetry ... See full summary »
Gertrud is being abandoned by her husband after 20 years of marriage. Offended and unhappy she leaves her home and rents a room. The landlady's son is drawn to her and tries to help her out of the loneliness.
Full of deep, painful but harrowingly rewarding emotions, and a knockout performance by Pernilla August (one of those performers that does so much when seeming to do so little), and reveals Liv Ullmann as a gifted director - maybe she was the only one to direct this, as Billie August did The Best Intentions (and I may possibly, just maybe, prefer this film to Best Intentions, which this is a sequel to), since for Bergman so much is already so personal (the characters are his parents, or versions of them anyway).
But every episode is wholly rewarding, and the moments of sensual tenderness between characters are underlined by how the dialog drives things so fiercely: like the best characters written by Mr. Bergman, these people, especially Anna, Henrik and Tomas, want to find the right path but get corrupted, or just screwed up, by where their hearts lead them. It may also be one of the most mature works by this writer, as the story jumps from episode to episode in time (about five 'confessions'/conversations in all, spanning many years), as we see the bulk of the action take place when Anna had her affair, the fall-out with her husband... and then ten years later (as well as when Anna was 18) when she tells to her Uncle Jacob (Max von Sydow, who is great and who could expect otherwise, especially here as a forgiving but firm minister).
This jump isn't simply to be clever, far from it - we learn along with the characters, and time does change a lot of things. By the end, I looked back on the episodes on Private Confessions as meaning so much, for the drama they went through and that I saw, and even with an ending that appears to be 'happy', there is still a well of anguish that can always be tapped. When it comes to Bergman, by way of his great love and collaborator Liv Ullmann, romance is never, ever easy, especially when some sort of 'God' may be watching and judging. Oh, and having Bergman-regular Sven Nykvist shoot is always welcome (this was the last time he would bring light and dark to his words).
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