Persona (Sous-titres français)
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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
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 --This text refers to the Blu-ray edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I enjoy this film very much. It's hard to understand the whole personality-swich thing, more so the disjointed film imagery at the beginning and the end. Read morePublished on Dec 16 2005 by Jesse Dachyshyn
I've never quite been into foreign films, but I decided to check out 'Persona' because it has been associated with one of my favorite films, Robert Altman's '3 Women. Read morePublished on July 6 2004 by Joe
This is Ingmar Bergman's greatest achievement as a film director (most of us have not seen his stupendous stage productions and only a few of his "made-for-TV"... Read morePublished on June 20 2004
This is one of the best rated films of all time...and it's definetely justified. It might very well be Bergmans materpiece, and THAT says a lot. Read morePublished on May 23 2004
i know you guys have serious qualms with the DVD itself and not the film, but a passing glance might cause people to think this isn't the brilliant, strangely moving film that it... Read morePublished on May 17 2004 by Brad Stewart
Can a studio present a movie any way they please after they've bought the rights for it? Apparently so. I saw Bergman's masterpiece Persona at the movies a very long time ago. Read morePublished on May 16 2004
Worthy of MGMs demise the wretched DVD of a great film, I have waited years for. Read more
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