Persona (1966) Film Review A+

One of the Jungian archetypes, the persona – as formulated by Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung – enables an individual to interact with the surrounding environment by reflecting on the role in life that the individual is playing. In that way, one can arrive at a compromise between one’s innate psychological constitution and society.
DIRECTOR: Ingmar Bergman
BOTTOM LINE: Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona” is a cinematic masterpiece that examines the complex and intimate relationship between two women, Elisabet (played by Liv Ullmann) and Alma (played by Bibi Andersson). Elisabet, a theatre actress, suddenly becomes mute during a performance of “Electra,” and Alma, a nurse, is assigned to care for her. They move to a cottage on Fårö (aka “Bergman”) island off the coast of Sweden, where, in their isolation, the women develop a deep emotional bond that blurs the lines between reality and imagination. Elizabet’s silence and withdrawal contrast with Alma’s volubility and desire for emotional connection. Eventually, Alma begins having trouble distinguishing herself from her patient.
Bergman’s revolutionary script and direction delve into topics such as vampirism, motherhood, abortion, and the Jungian theory of persona while highlighting that this is fundamentally a love story between two women. Andersson’s and Ullman’s performances rank among the greatest in movie history.
In addition, the movie gives us not just one but two supremely erotic moments. The first is Andersson’s now famous monologue in which Alma recounts an episode from her youth where she and her friend Katarina engaged in a spontaneous orgy on a beach. The sensuality of the moment is centered on Alma’s memory of the intimate connection between herself and her friend as their legs touched while they were, in turn, penetrated by unknown man while another watched. The second is a series of intimate compositions of the two women, which were filmed in black-and-white and in extreme close-ups by the legendary Swedish cinematographer Sven Nykvist. These images have become iconic.

Original screenplay by Ingmar Bergman

My all-time favorite film THAT IS not in the English Language

STREAMING: Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+

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