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Any film with Bergman involved promises much, and in delivery Private Confessions does not disappoint
Apart from a couple of long-winded moments and an ending that feels a little forced, this is a most excellent film and very intriguing in so many ways. Long-term Bergman collaborator Sven Nykvist is responsible for the cinematography and every shot and frame has a hauntingly beautiful atmosphere and realism to it that it is almost hypnotising to watch. The director this time round is not Bergman, but Liv Ullman, one of his best regular actresses and among the best that Sweden ever had. The directing is done very intelligently, from collaborating with Bergman for so long there is definitely an influence but it never resorts to imitation. Like Bergman as well, she does a fine job in keeping the characters and situations as compellingly real as possible, whether you're fascinated by or indifferent to them is a matter of opinion. Bergman does have a hand in it, as a writer. The structure is very autobiographical and personal, and it so incredibly honest, often painfully so, and thought provoking. The story is insightful, dealing with complex issues with such realism, and while you mayn't consider the characters likable anybody familiar with Bergman's style and know enough about what he intends in every one of his movies will argue that they weren't meant to be, and I agree. Pernilla August gives a masterful lead performance, she says little but her gestures and expressions really resonate with you, for me in that regard like a female Max Von Sydow. Sydow also stars and I can't find anything to fault him whatsoever, like August he tells much without having to do so verbally. In conclusion, an excellent film and doesn't disappoint in what it promised. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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