by guest writer
Persona is probably one of the most challenging movies directed by Ingmar Bergman. When released in 1966 the film did not enjoy much success. As time passed by, it became one of the greatest art-house movies. When a stage actress, Elisabeth Vogler (Liv Ullmann), stops speaking during a performance, she is immediately committed. During her stay in the hospital, the attending nurse, Alma (Bibi Andersson), learns that there is nothing wrong with the patient. An interesting fact is that the name Alma was intentionally chosen for its connotation, as in Spanish it mean ‘soul’. While the two women are being isolated at the physician’s summer house, a curious bond forms between Elisabeth and the inexperienced nurse.
Persona is a complex depiction of human identity, frailty and cruelty, being at the same time intensely provocative and clever. With minimalist composition and well defined close-up shootings, Bergman creates one of the best psychological thrillers. Sven Nykvist patented the above mentioned techniques of close-up filming, becoming one of the important figures in modern cinematography. Try to find out how distructive human will can be by watching this European masterpiece.
PS: We haven’t forgotten it’s December after all, so you can find a list of classic Christmas movies here.