Two estranged sisters, Ester and Anna, and Anna's 10-year-old son travel to the Central European country on the verge of war. Ester becomes seriously ill and the three of them move into a hotel in a small town called Timoka.
A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.
A young nurse, Alma, is put in charge of Elisabeth Vogler: an actress who is seemingly healthy in all respects, but will not talk. As they spend time together, Alma speaks to Elisabeth constantly, never receiving any answer. Alma eventually confesses her secrets to a seemingly sympathetic Elisabeth and finds that her own personality is being submerged into Elisabeth's persona.Written by
"Persona" is considered a pictorial radical film. Both Bergman and his cinematographer Sven Nykvist felt that mid-shots was boring, therefore the film consists of a few wide shots, occasional mid-shots and many, long and intense close-ups. See more »
Elisabet? Can I read you something from my book? Or am I disturbing you? It says here:"All the anxiety we bear with us, all our thwarted dreams, the incomprehensible cruelty, our fear of extinction, the painful insight into our earthly condition, have slowly eroded our hope of an other-wordly salvation. The howl of our faith and doubt against the darkness and silence, is one of the most awful proofs of our abandonment and our terrified, unuttered knowledge." Do you think it's like that?
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The American version, released by United Artists, omits a brief close-up shot of an erect penis from the film's pre-credit collage. See more »
There are few motion pictures that rely on bodily expression and imagery as most films depend too much on dialogue and speech. Persona(1966) is one of those raw movies that succeeds almost on a metaphysical level. Its about the relationship between an actress who broke down during a stage performance and the nurse who is assigned to take care of her. Bergman's camera has a fascination with Ullmann's figure as most of the film's closeup shots are on her. Liv Ullmann does an outstanding job in playing a character that hardly utters a line of dialogue.
There are a few scenes where the image dominates the screen in a manner that hasn't been done successfully since the silent film period. The director, Ingmar Bergman did an excellent job in presenting powerful images with the use of natural sound. Persona(1966) is a triumph of acting because both Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann are terrific in their perspective roles. There is hardly any movie music and this adds to the tension between the two women. Its a film that was deserving of a Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1966.
One scene that was wonderful is when Alma describes her life to her patient. Another excellent scene is when Mr. Vogler mistakes Alma for his wife(its as if he too has suffered a breakdown and has failed to recognize his own wife). Finally, the sequence where Alma and Mrs. Vogler's image blends together to form one person. Its an errie image because they cease to exist as individual people. Persona(1966) would influence Robert Altman very greatly when he directed the film, Three Women(1977).
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