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Persona (1966)

Not Rated | | Drama, Thriller | 16 March 1967 (USA)
A nurse is put in charge of a mute actress and finds that their personae are melding together.

Director:

Ingmar Bergman

Writer:

Ingmar Bergman (story and screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
2,040 ( 243)

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Top Rated Movies #193 | Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bibi Andersson ... Alma
Liv Ullmann ... Elisabet Vogler
Margaretha Krook ... The Doctor
Gunnar Björnstrand ... Mr. Vogler
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Storyline

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 Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Previously unseen Director's Cut See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Sweden

Language:

Swedish | English

Release Date:

16 March 1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Persona See more »

Filming Locations:

Fårö, Gotlands län, Sweden See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

AGA Sound System

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the spring of 1965 Bergman was admitted to the Sophia Hospital, Stockholm, for double pneumonia and acute penicillin poisoning. While hospitalized, he created the basic script of "Persona". Inspired by August Strindberg's one-act play "The Stronger", an existence which consisted of dead people, brick walls and some dreary park trees and conceived as a sonata for two instruments. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Vogler: The important thing is the effort, not what we achieve.
See more »

Alternate Versions

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Three Scenes with Ingmar Bergman (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Adagio from Concerto No. 2 in E major for Violin, Strings and Continuo, BWV 1042
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
See more »

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User Reviews

 
I am Bergman! Hear me bore!
24 July 2008 | by sc8031See all my reviews

I was hesitant to write anything about this film at first because I wasn't sure if my negative reaction was from moodiness or the result of disappointed expectations. I haven't seen too many Bergman films, but most of the ones I've seen present interesting ideas, but as though they were the most earth-shattering profound concepts ever conceived. It can be a bit much.

Okay, so here we have a movie that deals with similar themes as his later, better film, "Hour of the Wolf". Liv Ullman plays a popular actress who goes mute in the middle of a stage performance. A nurse, played by Bibi Andersson, is assigned to care for her. Eventually the two take a vacation to a cottage out on the beach (a typical Swedish method of recovery?) where a series of interactions begins to take their toll on their personalities. Here the film seems to investigate the line that is blurred between people's identities who are in close proximity over long periods of time.

It seems the characters are established exclusively in order to explore Bergman's philosophical meanderings and musings, which involve the significance of the interior and exterior views of the self. Elizabeth (Ullman) seems to be someone who recognizes her lack of a strong internal identity. Alma (Andersson) is the opposite and manifests a strong internal sense of self but a weak external influence. Maybe Bergman is also saying something about the role of the artist -- that their persona is stolen by so much giving, so much internal conjuration and performance. That over time, society consumes the artist's inner world by making their gifts into novelties and taking the inner spirit for granted.

But I don't really know and that's the problem. Many people say this movie is open to interpretation and that's what makes it so deep. But I think such an explanation only proves that this film is too broad or vague and relies too much on hind-sight and art-house praise. On some level it becomes too self-indulgent to really be enjoyable. I really suspect that many individuals like this movie because they view it with the same self-impressed state of mind as Bergman did when he made it.

I can certainly credit Bergman with having a knack for writing decent dialog and for being inspired in his film-making. He really is empowered to make films. But he also seems obsessed with his own perceptions, making complicated and fractured works about feelings and ideas that could be presented more concretely. But then again, many people like him for that, or his aesthetic, or a variety of other reasons that I haven't mentioned here. I enjoy some of his works, but this one didn't interest me too much.


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