Film / Persona

A 1966 classic film by Swedish director Ingmar Bergman (the guy who made The Seventh Seal), starring Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann. As with anything by Ingmar Bergman, this movie rides heavily on symbolism and philosophy. Its plot is... hard to explain.

At first, it is pretty straightforward: an actress named Elisabet Vogler suddenly decides not to speak and is thus considered mentally ill. She and Alma, the nurse who takes care of her, are sent to a Summer cottage in hopes that it will help nurse the actress back to health. Alma talks to her a lot, first about trivial things and then about increasingly personal matters. One day, she reads a letter by Elisabet to her husband, which talks about these matters; among them, a sexual tryst Alma had with underage boys. Cold war ensues.

Whatever happens from there on is entirely up to you to guess. The director's lack of explanation does not help. However, it is still regarded as one of the best movies by Ingmar Bergman.

Unrelated to the Persona videogames, although Jungian psychology is a major theme in both.

This film contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Painting the Medium: The director reminds us several times, through a few weird sequences, that this is only a movie.
  • Psycho Strings: You could almost mistake this for a horror movie at certain points (the montage of strange, sometimes disturbing images at the beginning may well remind you of The Ring), and the music reinforces this.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Elisabet, who spends most of the film in silence, speaks in three instances, though it may not have happened.
  • The Voiceless: Elisabet has been sent to recuperate after suddenly deciding to stop speaking; the number of times she speaks during the film can be counted on one hand and all of them may just be imagined by the characters.