We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
It is hard to imagine your parents as young people, when you are older than they were when they reared you. We understand other adults, but it is so hard to see parents clearly; we still regard them through the screens of childhood mystery. In his old age, the thoughts of the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman have turned toward his childhood, and particularly toward the secrets of his parents' marriage.
His father was a Lutheran minister. His films paint his mother as a high-spirited woman who often found her husband distant or tiresome. Both his parents were steeped in religion and theology, which did not prevent them from doing wrong, but equipped them to agonize over it. In four films, one as a director and three where others directed his screenplays, Bergman has returned to the years when he was a child and his parents were in turmoil. "Fanny and Alexander'' (1983) was a memory of childhood. Bille August's "The Best Intentions'' (1992) was the story of the parents' courtship.
"Sunday's Children'' (1994), directed by Bergman's son Daniel, was about the boy's uneasy relationship with his father. Now comes "Private Confessions,'' the story of his mother's moral struggles. He calls these films fictions because he imagines things he could not have seen, but there is no doubt they are true to his feelings about his parents. One would not live to 81 and tell these stories only to falsify them.
"Private Confessions,'' based on Bergman's 1966 book, has been directed by Liv Ullmann, an actress in many of his best films. The cinematographer is wise old Sven Nykvist, his collaborator for 30 years.