"Thus open the gates of paradise."

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Private Confessions

06 Apr 2002

When I arrived at my favourite rep cinema for a matinee screening of PRIVATE CONFESSIONS, I was the only one there. And so I chatted with Wendy (one of the owners) about the films we had seen at the Toronto Film Festival. This is one of the reasons it's my favourite cinema. How many other theatres can you to where the owner goes to film festivals?

But about the movie: Just before I left home, I began to get a creeping feeling that I had already seen it. Flipping back though my Film Festival log book, there it was -- 2 years ago. Director Liv Ullman was even at the screening to introduce the film and have a little chat at the end. Good enough, I thought. Time to see it again.

Pernilla August. Mmmm. Max Von Sydow. Mmmm. The things they can do just sitting there. Max plays an eerily realistic old man who you sense is only just barely in control of his emotions and his body. Outstanding, really. Pernilla plays a woman who confesses a marital indiscretion to her Uncle Jabob (Sydow). The full story comes out in a series of conversations between them over a number of years, illustrated by flash backs to still and violent moments.

As I said to one of the other patrons at screening, "It's just them. Acting. No tricks."