Persona (15)

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Time Out says

Bergman at his most brilliant as he explores the symbiotic relationship that evolves between an actress suffering a breakdown in which she refuses to speak, and the nurse in charge as she recuperates in a country cottage. To comment is to betray the film's extraordinary complexity, but basically it returns to two favourite Bergman themes: the difficulty of true communication between human beings, and the essentially egocentric nature of art. Here the actress (named Vogler after the charlatan/artist in The Face) dries up in the middle of a performance, thereafter refusing to exercise her art. We aren't told why, but from the context it's a fair guess that she withdraws from a feeling of inadequacy in face of the horrors of the modern world; and in her withdrawal, she watches with detached tolerance as humanity (the nurse chattering on about her troubled sex life) reveals its petty woes. Then comes the weird moment of communion in which the two women merge as one: charlatan or not, the artist can still be understood, and can therefore still understand. Not an easy film, but an infinitely rewarding one.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

1966

Duration:

81 mins

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Technoguy

This is the most experimental film Bergman made coming as it does at a time in the 60s when things were radical and changing. This covers all the main themes Bergman would cover:the nature of art,the artist,the themes of the difficulty of communication,the imagination and the unconscious and the nature of love. This film is not necessarily about women,although he uses two of his great actresses to enact the film's ideas.First of all the film starts of in a way never before seen in Bergman with a succesion of strange images:a sheep's throat being cut,an erect member,a priest setting himself alight and several more. Then we get a moment when the nature of the medium,celluloid is exposed as the film burns.You have to remember too Bergman was at a low point in his life and his faith in the nature of art needed reviving and this film provides a kind axis between his earlier and later films.You have to remember the actress has lost the ability to express herself due to being overcome by the sheer horror of reality. The nurse has been given the role of rehabilitating her but the nurse has issues herself and displays counter-transference so that she becomes dependent on the silent but watchful patient.The high point is when the two women's identities merge in a symbiosis of each side of their faces:two become one.Within the context of the film this makes sense on a subconscious level.The artist is in communion with the nurse and a form of transubstiation of reality occurs on a personal level. I would say this is in the top 10 of the greatest films ever made.

Technoguy

This is the most experimental film Bergman made coming as it does at a time in the 60s when things were radical and changing. This covers all the main themes Bergman would cover:the nature of art,the artist,the themes of the difficulty of communication,the imagination and the unconscious and the nature of love. This film is not necessarily about women,although he uses two of his great actresses to enact the film's ideas.First of all the film starts of in a way never before seen in Bergman with a succesion of strange images:a sheep's throat being cut,an erect member,a priest setting himself alight and several more. Then we get a moment when the nature of the medium,celluloid is exposed as the film burns.You have to remember too Bergman was at a low point in his life and his faith in the nature of art needed reviving and this film provides a kind axis between his earlier and later films.You have to remember the actress has lost the ability to express herself due to being overcome by the sheer horror of reality. The nurse has been given the role of rehabilitating her but the nurse has issues herself and displays counter-transference so that she becomes dependent on the silent but watchful patient.The high point is when the two women's identities merge in a symbiosis of each side of their faces:two become one.Within the context of the film this makes sense on a subconscious level.The artist is in communion with the nurse and a form of transubstiation of reality occurs on a personal level. I would say this is in the top 10 of the greatest films ever made.

usman khawaja

this is an over-rated psychological drama which i find very irritating in it's pretexts at times , ingmar bergman is trying to show the rehabilitation of a disabled woman and the affects of the same on the therapist too , but he indulges in stylised images which look like stills from an artsy magazine and bibi and liv at times overact to the point of exaggeration in a really eccentric script which is very patronising towards the protagonists , as it evolves you see 2 very cold ,manipulative women who look artificial and at times talk like they are in a medical text-book . the men are relegated to playing just secondary roles and are redundant . the redeeming points are the exploration of the mother-son relation which is creative and makes you think but otherwise i was disappointed by the hype of this over-rated movie. the b&w photography gets uneven with starchy and sparkling sequences alternating and the whole experience becomes rather theatrical then cinematic with some really profound and yet some very trite sequences , but it might have looked very fresh in 65 ,though it has not dated well . it is worth watching but not essential cinema neither great art . usman khawaja - jbz7879 Readers' Reviews (1)

usman khawaja

this is an over-rated psychological drama which i find very irritating in it's pretexts at times , ingmar bergman is trying to show the rehabilitation of a disabled woman and the affects of the same on the therapist too , but he indulges in stylised images which look like stills from an artsy magazine and bibi and liv at times overact to the point of exaggeration in a really eccentric script which is very patronising towards the protagonists , as it evolves you see 2 very cold ,manipulative women who look artificial and at times talk like they are in a medical text-book . the men are relegated to playing just secondary roles and are redundant . the redeeming points are the exploration of the mother-son relation which is creative and makes you think but otherwise i was disappointed by the hype of this over-rated movie. the b&w photography gets uneven with starchy and sparkling sequences alternating and the whole experience becomes rather theatrical then cinematic with some really profound and yet some very trite sequences , but it might have looked very fresh in 65 ,though it has not dated well . it is worth watching but not essential cinema neither great art . usman khawaja - jbz7879 Readers' Reviews (1)