Persona

  • 1966
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

This is Ingmar Bergman's chaste exploration of psychosis. It's not a horror story but a poem, and remarkable for that. This is one of the director's masterworks. Opening with a sequence that includes a bare bulb projecting onto a screen, the countdown leader of the first reel, and short film clips from slapstick comedies and cartoons, Bergman reminds us...read more

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This is Ingmar Bergman's chaste exploration of psychosis. It's not a horror story but a poem, and remarkable for that. This is one of the director's masterworks. Opening with a sequence that includes a bare bulb projecting onto a screen, the countdown leader of the first reel, and short

film clips from slapstick comedies and cartoons, Bergman reminds us that we are in the act of watching a film. Gradually, however, the story gets underway. Ullmann plays an actress who mysteriously stops speaking after a performance of "Electra" and is sent by a psychiatrist to a seaside cottage

where she is looked after by nurse Andersson. Using light and shadow masterfully, Bergman and his cinematographer, Sven Nykvist, accentuate the resemblance between the two women, drawing the viewer into a psychodrama that is more the nurse's story than the patient's, as Andersson pours her soul

out to the silent Ullmann. She gradually appears to be just as troubled as her patient, whose personality she seems to be assuming. The shot of their two faces merged near the end of the film is one of the great images of cinema.

PERSONA has variously been interpreted as an exploration of the role of the artist, an embodiment of the psychoanalytic process, and as a meditation on Bergman's favorite existential themes. In any case, it is a film of great emotional intensity that benefits from the superlative performances of

Ullmann--who reacts only with facial and body gestures--and Andersson, who speaks for both of them as she slips into a kind of subtle madness.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This is Ingmar Bergman's chaste exploration of psychosis. It's not a horror story but a poem, and remarkable for that. This is one of the director's masterworks. Opening with a sequence that includes a bare bulb projecting onto a screen, the countdown lead… (more)

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