5 user 11 critic

Private Confessions (1996)

Enskilda samtal (original title)
Five conversations frame a flawed marriage in this film written by Ingmar Bergman about his parents. Guilt-ridden wife Anna (Pernilla August) divulges an extramarital affair to a priest, ... See full summary »


Liv Ullmann


Ingmar Bergman
5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview:
Pernilla August ... Anna
Max von Sydow ... Jacob
Samuel Fröler ... Henrik
Thomas Hanzon ... Tomas Egerman
Anita Björk ... Karin Åkerblom
Vibeke Falk ... Fröken Nylander
Kristina Adolphson ... Maria
Gunnel Fred ... Märta Gärdsjö
Hans Alfredson ... Biskop Agrell
Bengt Schött Bengt Schött ... Vaktmästare Stille


Five conversations frame a flawed marriage in this film written by Ingmar Bergman about his parents. Guilt-ridden wife Anna (Pernilla August) divulges an extramarital affair to a priest, her uncle Jacob (Max von Sydow). He presses her to confess her sins to her husband, Henrik. As the film moves back and forth in time, the notion of truth is tested. Tomas, the lover, and Henrik will find that Anna's confessions do not absolve anyone, and have the power to inflict more pain. Source: Rotten Tomatoes Written by Sasa Aleksic

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama


See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This is the last film by Ingmar Bergman with Sven Nykvist as the cinematographer. See more »


Anna: Do you believe in God, Uncle Jacob? A Father in Heaven, a God of Love? A God with hands, and a heart, and watching eyes?
Jacob: Don't use the word "God." Say "Holiness." There's holiness in everyone. Human holiness. All else is attributes, disguise, manifestation, and trickery. You can never make out or capture human holiness. At the same time... it's something to cling to. Something tangible, lasting unto death. What happens then is hidden from us. It's only the poets, musicians, and saints who may ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

A theatrical version runs 131 minutes. See more »


Featured in Bergman Island (2004) See more »


Jesu bleibet meine Freunde, No. 147
Music by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conducted by Christopher Hogwood
Performed by The Academy of Ancient Music
See more »

User Reviews

Arduous tale of adultery
27 January 1999 | by eek-4See all my reviews

Despite an excellent, unaffected performance by Pernilla August, Private Confessions can't escape its melodramatic premise of adultery and redemption. Written by the King of Existentialism, the film (or shall I say mini-series) is structured along five conversations, though they do not follow any chronology, which has become a cool trick to use for many young screenwriters (fragmented chronology) but Bergman uses it as memory. The writing is as intense and honest as any other Bergman film, but without much plot, tends to be long-winded. Longtime Bergman collaborators Liv Ullman and cinematographer Sven Nyvist focus on close-ups and a stationary camera to get their message across, adding to the lack of mobility in the script. After two hours of Swedish mope (not necessarily a bad thing because where else is it more appropriate) [Sorry Martin!], the wistful ending seems forced. Great scene near the end, though, where a hymn gives way to vomiting. In conclusion, a movie for Bergman fanatics (especially since the story is autobiographical) like me and for people having affairs -- not like me.

2 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 5 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Private Confessions See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,759, 10 January 1999

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(2 parts) | (theatrical) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

4:3 Letterbox
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed