Movie Review – Persona

Posted: June 16, 2013 in Movie Reviews
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Persona tells us once again why Ingmar Bergman is a genius. Of all the movies that he has directed this film along with Cries and Whispers are the movies he’s most happy about. That’s not without the reason. My favorite Bergman movie before this was Autumn Sonata. The Seventh Seal didn’t have that much impact on me like Autumn Sonata. In fact Autumn Sonata was the first movie which I watched of Bergman and it was mind blowing. Now after watching Persona the term mind blowing seems to be an understatement. I’m yet to watch Cries and whispers. Let me see what impact it has on me.


Bergman wrote this movie while he was recovering from pneumonia. May be that’s why he has included the nurse character and hospital environment in here. I for one take my life as inspiration and draw stories from it. Bergman too has done the same. If not entirely at least a part of it. I’m certainly amazed and in fact it even beats me as to how writers could give so much heart and soul to stories of which they were not part of.

Persona has been widely interpreted in various ways. The movie as a whole and the two lead characters. Are they both one? Are they alter egos of each other? Are they lesbians? Are they what they really are? Or do they even exist? So many questions linger in our minds. And we are always in search of answers. And throughout the movie you don’t have just one of these questions in mind. The questions shift as stories shift from one point to another.

Elisabet Vogler, an almost mute woman played by Liv Ullmann is no small job but the real show stealer is the talkative nurse Alma (Bibi Andersson) whose excessive charm makes us pity for her. What would this poor girl do against a person who has self imposed muteness on her? Bibi initially doesn’t think that this is a case for her but once she sets her foot in the case she doesn’t regret. And why would she? She gets to talk about each and everything to someone who would listen to her no matter what. And that too she’s no small person. A once famous actress whom she had liked a lot. Who wouldn’t like such a company?

But the situation changes after sometime. How long can a person be an active communicator in a relationship? I don’t want to name this relationship; in fact I can’t name this queer relationship. They are two unique people. Oh wait are they?

Appreciating camera works have become order of the day. There are many instances where cinematography takes art to next level. Makes the art form look even more beautiful. It’s like salt added after food is made. But what we see here is different. It increases the transparency of the film. Every time the two images superimpose we forget all the questions that we’ve asked before and start thinking what’s happening at the moment.

The idea of being influenced by some other person and to make someone believe that they are not what they are fascinated me. It’s like in those Bourne movies where you get up somewhere and don’t know what you do. Just the difference here is it doesn’t happen instantly like a thriller film. It gradually changes the opinion of us and along with Bibi who thinks she’s totally lost it. Of the recent films which impacted me like this and gave me a similar notion is Kim Ki Duk’s Time. Another brilliant one.

Scene by scene analysis of this film is not also going to help in getting to know what the core understanding is but we surely can each one’s interpretation and see how vividly human brain works. A work of art definitely helps in the study of psychology. 

Now that I’ve completed my review I see so many question marks over it that points at asks what’s the point? Question mark. So whats the conclusion? Question mark. And is there any conclusion in anything? I’ve never believed in conclusion. There never really is a conclusion. What we see is what we get to see. A part of someone’s life. Why can’t it extend beyond the frame? Do we have an answer? Question Mark.


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