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May 31, 2007

Persona - 5

Ingmar Bergman is hit or miss with me. While I really like his later films, Autumn Sonata, Scenes from a Marriage, and Saraband, I found this film to be in the company of his more obscure films like Wild Strawberries and The Silence. To the academician these more radical films seem to be of interest because of the myriad and intriguing interpretations that can be made. In the case of Persona it is often cited when talking about psychoanalysis (Zizek talks about it in The Pervert's Guide to Cinema). The characters are Elisabet (Liv Ullmann), who is an actress who has had a nervous breakdown and stops/is unable to speak, and Alma (Bibi Andersson) the nurse who is assigned to take care of her. The two of them eventually leave the hospital and live at a beach house to help Elisabet recover. The analysts/patient roles are reversed as Alma talks and tell stories, while Elisabet listens and says nothing. The dialogue is intriguing as Alma does indeed go through some self discovery, and Ullman has the hard role of "talking" (communicating) while having no lines. This story is bookended with rather confusing and quick sequences that seem to have no relation to the film. Bergman considers this one of his best films as it relies heavily on the medium being film, it would be really hard to read this as a script or novel.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your rating is two numbers off. Try again.:)

The bookends serve as an encapsulation of all of Bergman's work prior to Persona: the God-Spider from Through a Glass Darkly, images from a 50s Bergman film, film unwinding and restarting, and the child not cognitive between image and reality.

The sex monologue, as you noted with your reference to Zizek, is legendary in its eroticism. Pay it more respect.

The only thing you can attack in the repeating end monologue seen from each perspective, as I'm still trying to formulate a good reasoning for it. That said, I'll be writing about this one soonish...