AUG. 13-29

Her name is forever linked with Ingmar Bergman’s, but actress Liv Ullmann worked (and lived) with the great Swedish director for only a short portion of his career. The two were recently reunited, however, on very different terms: Ullmann accepted the job of directing Bergman’s second script about his parents’ troubled marriage, Private Confessions (pictured). (The first was 1992’s The Best Intentions.) An unflinching account of his mother’s affair with a young seminarian, Private Confessions is as harrowing as the films—notably Persona and Cries and Whispers—that Bergman and Ullmann made together when he was the director and she the star. The film is a series of five “private conversations” (Martin Luther’s term for confession, and a more accurate translation of the film’s title) between Anna Bergman (Pernilla August), her clergyman husband, Henrik (Samuel Frîler); her lover, Tomas (Thomas Hanzon); and her Uncle Jacob, also a priest (Max von Sydow). Although the Bergmans’ foundering marriage is the film’s focus, its most powerful scenes are the ones between August and von Sydow; the deeply moving episode in which the elderly Jacob is close to death functions as a requiem not just for Bergman’s parents but also for his remarkable work and company. In this survey of Ullmann’s short but estimable directorial career, Private Confessions (at 6:30 and 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 13; 2, 4:15, 6:30, and 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 14; 1, 3:30, 6, and 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 15; 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 16, to Thursday, Aug. 19; and at 2 and 4:15 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21, and 1 and 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 22) joins Kristin Lavransdatter (at 8:15 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20, and Sunday, Aug. 22, and 8:45 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21), based on Nobel Prize winner Sigrid Undset’s novel, and Sofie (at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28, and 3 and 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 29), another tale of a troubled Scandinavian marriage, although this one features Danish Jews rather than Swedish Lutherans. At the Kennedy Center’s American Film Institute National Film Theater. $6.50. (202) 785-4600. (Mark Jenkins)