Monday, April 15, 2013

Persona (1966)

IMDb plot summary: A nurse is put in charge of an actress who can't talk and finds that the actress's persona is melding with hers.
Directed by Ingmar Bergman. Starring Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann.


There might have been a little bit of sarcasm in that shouted opening line. I have no idea what to do with this movie. I was delighted to find that when I looked around online, nobody else had any idea what was going on in it either. I like Bergman as a whole, and I often like ambiguity, but I felt so clearly like this *was* leading toward an answer, and then I never got one. Unlike The Seventh Seal, which was also hecka confusing but had a few truly beautiful moments, I wasn't drawn to anything in this story except the mystery, which was never really solved. Disappointing. It's possible that a rewatch someday or even just deciding on a way to interpret the movie would vastly change my opinion of it, but right now I am rather annoyed with it. 2 stars.

Flickchart: #1154 out of 1903, below Last of the Red Hot Lovers and above The 40-Year-Old Virgin.


Travis McClain said...

I know I wrote remarks about Persona when I saw it, but I can't find them and apparently didn't bring them over to my Letterboxd diary. It's my second favorite Bergman film, though I think it may be my highest rated on Flickchart at the moment.

I think the problem you're running into with Bergman is that you've been jumping into The Big Ones. It's certainly tempting to do that, but I would strongly advise you to hold off on any more of his better known works for the time being. Go back to his early films and follow his evolution from stage theater to film as a storyteller. I believe that will help "unlock" a lot of the things that have frustrated and eluded you with the films of his that you've seen to date.

Hannah M said...

One of these days I will have to do that, although there's a rebellious part of me that balks at having to watch a filmmaker's entire body of work to understand his later films. :) But I know that sometimes that kind of thing is tres helpful, and since I'm having trouble with his big works, it is a logical idea.