IMDb > Persona (1966)
Persona
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Persona (1966) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
8.2/10   44,117 votes »
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Director:
Writer:
Ingmar Bergman (story)
Contact:
View company contact information for Persona on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
16 March 1967 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
A new film by Ingmar Bergman See more »
Plot:
A nurse is put in charge of an actress who can't talk and finds that the actress's persona is melding with hers. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for BAFTA Film Award. Another 8 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
A very powerful personal experience See more (153 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Bibi Andersson ... Alma

Liv Ullmann ... Elisabet Vogler
Margaretha Krook ... The Doctor

Gunnar Björnstrand ... Mr. Vogler
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jörgen Lindström ... Elisabet's Son (uncredited)
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Directed by
Ingmar Bergman 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Ingmar Bergman  story and screenplay

Produced by
Ingmar Bergman .... producer
 
Original Music by
Lars Johan Werle 
 
Cinematography by
Sven Nykvist 
 
Film Editing by
Ulla Ryghe 
 
Production Design by
Bibi Lindström 
 
Costume Design by
Mago 
 
Makeup Department
Tina Johansson .... assistant makeup artist
Börje Lundh .... makeup artist
 
Production Management
Lars-Owe Carlberg .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Lenn Hjortzberg .... assistant director
Bo Arne Vibenius .... assistant director (as Bo Vibenius)
 
Art Department
Karl-Arne Bergman .... property master (as Karl Arne Bergman)
 
Sound Department
Evald Andersson .... special sound effects
Lennart Engholm .... sound
Olle Jacobsson .... sound mixer
Per-Olof Pettersson .... sound (as P.O. Pettersson)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Anders Bodin .... assistant camera
Lars Johnsson .... assistant camera
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eivor Kullberg .... costume assistant
 
Other crew
Kerstin Berg .... script supervisor
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
85 min | Argentina:80 min | USA:83 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Argentina:16 | Australia:M | Finland:K-15 (2004) | Finland:K-16 (cut) (1967) | France:Unrated | Portugal:M/16 (Qualidade) | Singapore:NC-16 | South Korea:18 | Sweden:15 | UK:X (original rating) | UK:15 (re-rating) (2002) | USA:Not Rated | West Germany:12

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The name of Bibi Andersson's character "Alma" is Spanish and Portuguese for "soul".See more »
Quotes:
Mr. Vogler:The important thing is the effort, not what we achieve.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Fight Club (1999)See more »

FAQ

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175 out of 214 people found the following review useful.
A very powerful personal experience, 21 October 2002
Author: Howard Schumann from Vancouver, B.C.

Ingmar Bergman's mystifying masterpiece, Persona, opens with an image of light from the lamp of a film projector and then the film running through the spools. This is followed by a series of images that includes a spider, a montage from silent comedies, a spike being driven through a man's hand, and faces in a morgue. The film then cuts to an enigmatic picture of a young boy watching women's faces appear on a giant screen directly in front of him. Are these strange images reminding us that we are only observing a film, not reality?

As Persona begins, Sister Alma (Bibi Andersson), a nurse, is assigned to care for an actress, Elizabeth Vogler (Liv Ullman) who suddenly ceases to speak in the middle of a performance of Electra. Alma learns that there is nothing physically or psychologically wrong with Elizabeth. She just refuses to communicate verbally. Alma and Elizabeth retreat to the head physician's summer cottage on a small island to complete her recuperation. Although Alma is the only one who talks, the relationship grows and Alma is happy that she has found someone who will listen to her sympathetically. She begins to share with Elizabeth some of her most vulnerable moments. A high point in the film is Alma's detailed description of a sexual encounter she had with two teenage boys while sunbathing on a beach in the nude. Elizabeth appears to be an attentive listener who, by facial expression, encourages Alma to reveal more and more personal details.

Alma, however, is deeply hurt when she opens Elizabeth's unsealed letter to her doctor. In the letter, Elizabeth reveals how she is using Alma as a "study" and finds her infatuation "charming". Feeling betrayed Alma lashes out in anger, first berating her patient, then begging for forgiveness. As soon as physical and emotional violence is depicted, Bergman stops the narrative and repeats images from the opening sequence, adding a close-up of an eye as if to remind us again that we are merely prying observers. The relationship of the two women now becomes a struggle of wills. Alma grows more desperate as Elizabeth gets stronger and more dominant. Sensing this new power, Elizabeth seems to transfer her personality to the weaker Alma. Every nuance of emotion is unforgettably conveyed in the facial expressions of these two remarkable actresses.

Persona is filled with surreal images and dream sequences in which it is very difficult to distinguish between illusion and reality. In one scene, Alma sees Elizabeth entering her room at night, then exiting. When Alma asks her the next morning if she was in her room, Elizabeth shakes her head no. We do not know if she is simply not telling the truth, or the event did not occur. Bergman does not offer help. The same is true for scenes when Mr. Vogler appears or when Elizabeth looks at a picture of her son that she tore up at the beginning of the film. Being left on our own to make sense of these discontinuous elements, we are forced to discard thinking in traditional linear ways.

I can't say that I fully understood Persona. It may be suggesting that the persona we assume is merely a mask to cover our fears and insecurities? It seems that Elizabeth is playing a role as actress, wife, and mother. She wants to abandon this inauthentic role by refusing to speak. Alma, on the other hand, acts like a dutiful wife and supportive nurse, but secretly yearns to be what she perceives Elizabeth to be: strong, independent, and self-reliant. In a memorable scene, the faces of the two women are morphed into one composite in a classic overlapping shot, an image that says to me that underneath the roles we play, we are all the same.

After successive viewings, however, I realized that Persona's greatness does not lie in understanding, but in its unbearably intimate and poetically realized images, magnificently conveyed by cinematographer Sven Nykvist. The raw power of this film totally drew me in and allowed me to get in touch with my own feelings of hurt and desperation in trying to reach people in my own life who cannot or will not respond. Persona is not just a classic I objectively admired, but a very powerful personal experience.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Persona (1966)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Why I turned it off after 30 minutes evect
Two real women HoratiusFlacc
Couldnt get into this one.. melancholy-on-ice
Breaking Down Bergman on Persona eo_guy
Can someone explain to me the end? salo_marc
After My First Viewing, Here Is My Initial Interpretation... tcaminito
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