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Persona


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Product Details

  • Actors: Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Margaretha Krook, Gunnar Björnstrand, Jörgen Lindström
  • Directors: Ingmar Bergman
  • Writers: Ingmar Bergman
  • Producers: Ingmar Bergman
  • Format: Black & White, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Special Edition, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English, Swedish
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Fox Video
  • Release Date: Feb. 10 2004
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000YEEHG
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #53,486 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Amazon.ca

Ingmar Bergman's 1966 film, photographed by Sven Nykvist, begins when famous actress Elisabeth Vogler (Liv Ullmann) freezes on stage in the middle of a performance. Struck dumb by an unknown cause, she winds up in the care of young inexperienced nurse Alma (Bibi Andersson), and together they retreat to the seaside for the summer, where they enter into an uncommon intimacy and clash of wills. Bergman's study of the fragility of the human being and the treachery of life is incredibly moving in its perception and unrivaled imagery. And as always with Bergman and his reappearing ensemble of actors, the performances are flawless. Especially notable is the scene in which Alma recounts for the silent Elisabeth a morally and emotionally ambivalent erotic encounter she had experienced on a beach with a friend and two teenage boys. It is one of the most strangely erotic scenes ever filmed, and not a stitch of clothing is removed. Also of interest, and one of the most intriguing scenes in the film, perhaps among the most intriguing in all of cinema, is when Elisabeth paces barefooted back and forth over a patio on which we know there to be broken glass. It is an achievement in simple suspense from which many an aspiring director of thrillers could learn a bit. For those who've had their fill of predictable plots, irrelevant matter, and apish acting and are looking for something a little more sensual, poetic, and relevant to what life is about beyond the daily grind, this may be a good place to start. --James McGrath

Special Features

New, 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray New visual essay on the film’s prologue by Ingmar Bergman scholar Peter Cowie New interviews with actor Liv Ullmann and filmmaker Paul Schrader Excerpted archival interviews with Bergman and actors Bibi Andersson and Ullmann On-set footage, with audio commentary by Bergman historian Birgitta Steene Liv & Ingmar, a 2012 feature documentary directed by Dheeraj Akolkar Trailer New English subtitle translation PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Thomas Elsaesser, an excerpted 1969 interview with Bergman, and an excerpted 1977 conversation with Andersson

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Doug Watson on March 22 2014
Format: Blu-ray
Be careful when reading these reviews. Many of the reviews here refer to an earlier, much maligned, MGM 6-DVD box set of Bergman films from 2004 which included "Persona", "Shame", "The Serpent's Egg", "The Passion Of Anna", and "Hour Of The Wolf" (incidentally David Lynch's favourite Bergman film). This Criterion collection version is considered definitive in every respect. This is the one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patrik Lemberg on April 22 2004
Format: DVD
This is one of the two movies, among his 50+, that Ingmar Bergman himself is most proud of; in a recent interview, given before his retirement from the theatre (in January 2004), he said that with "Persona" and "Cries and Whispers" he pulled off something he thought would be beyond his capability, and indeed - to this day both films, and many of his others, keep impressing audiences.
This movie was shot on the island of Fårö (Bergman's residence for the past 40 years), by cinematographer Sven Nykvist, who had been Bergman's regularly used cinematographer for all his movies since "The Virgin Spring" (1960). "Persona" tells the story of actress Elisabeth (Liv Ullmann), who has chosen muteness, and her nurse Alma (Bibi Andersson), who observes her, keeps her company, and is trying to "cure" her, while they live together in the archipelago during the summer. As always both these actresses do convincing jobs. This was Liv Ullmann's first appearance in a Bergman movie (it lead to a relationship between her and the director), while Bibi Andersson had been reoccurring in Bergman's movies since "Smiles of a Summer Night" (1955).
MGM's presentation is less than professional. They have cropped off 11.5 percentage of the image by presenting the movie in Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 instead of 1.37:1; footage is missing from all four sides, and MGM have announced that they are not going to correct it. Furthermore the quality of the picture is brownish and gray, while the intention was clear black and clear white. This movie is available on a region-free DVD by Tartan, which has less features, but clearer picture, and is presented in Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1.
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Format: DVD
Originally some the earlier Bergman films were harder for me to get into, because most of the Bergman I saw first was from late in his career
and far more 'naturalistic' - 'Fanny and Alexander', 'Autumn Sonata', 'Scenes From a Marriage' etc. I don't think I understood that for much
of his great career he was as much an experimentalist (at times) as Lynch, or Fellini, or Kubrick or Godard. Now that I understand
that, it's easier for me to get excited by the earlier more surreal and challenging work.

Also, with 'Persona' the experiment seems more subtle and complex than in some of Bergman's other early work. The themes are right out in the
open but there's much less literalness in the questions. The whole FILM is a series of questions, but posed in a poetic way - what is identity?
What is acting? What is film? What are the boundaries between people? What is reality and what is a dream, both in this film, and in our own
experiences?

This is a haunting deeply disturbing work, and part of it's very effectiveness is it's 'unexplainability', ala '2001' or a Magritte
painting. Like a koan, it forces you to try and make sense of something that has no simple answer.

On first viewing there were a few times when things felt a little on the nose, or my feeling of 'huh?' was the bad kind, not the good one.

But this is a fascinating film, that combines some of the most truly dreamlike sequences I've ever seen with what seems a conventional
narrative, only to curve in on itself into obscurity yet again. It is ultimately the kind of puzzle that art does best - it makes you ponder
things both consciously and subconsciously at the same time.
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By G. Edmonson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Sept. 24 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Persona" (1966) is a film about many things on many levels. It can be seen an experimental deconstructivist film, or as a film about identity and nothingness, or as a film with any number of other themes. Actress Elisabet Vogler (Liv Ullmann) has a breakdown, and after a short stint in the hospital she is taken care of by Alma (Bibi Andersson) at a remote seaside cottage. Elisabet never speaks to Alma, and so Alma fills the silence with her intimate life stories. After a time it is as if the two woman are gradually becoming one. Alma speaks for, and interprets what Elisabet is thinking. This is a powerful, and thought provoking film, that gradually lays down layers upon layers of images, as it develops this story that becomes something of an unconscious power struggle between, and within, two people, as their identities gradually become reversed over time, as Alma seems like the patient, and Elisabet, the caregiver.

It could also be said that Ingmar Bergman is making a statement about how it is impossible to really know another person, and that we project our ideas and values onto other people. The speechless Elisabet acts like an empty vessel that Alma projects her own ideas and feelings upon. Elisabet is the actor, the blank slate, that changes her personality and character with each role she plays. Perhaps this was also what led her to have her break down. She had lost her sense of self, her identity. Ingmar Bergman reminds us that the film we are watching is a fabrication, a recreation on celluloid, with the initial film clips, and with the fragmenting of the image as the film appears at one point to burn up before resuming the story of the two women.
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