Film #138: Persona (1966)

personaDirector: Ingmar Bergman
Language: Swedish
Length: 80 minutes
Watched on: 1 Jan 2015

I went through a brief spate a few years ago, fuelled by friends and family members who had the DVDs, of watching Bergman films. I still hold Fanny and Alexander, at five hours long the longest film I’ve ever seen, up as one of my favourites and one that I would definitely rewatch if I had the time.

Somehow, though, I managed to miss Persona, which is usually down on the lists of recommended films as Bergman’s tour de force. But I finally got to it this New Year.

The film is about two women, one famous and the other taking care of her. The famous one is either mute or just doesn’t talk for the entire film, leaving the other one sometimes practically doing dialogue for two.

It’s now been too long for me to recall many specific images from the film -many of these are fleeting and unrelated to the plot anyway – but I do remember a particularly expertly crafted film, particularly when it came to the ending, which had just the right balance of weirdness and confusion.

As a result, I’d happily recommend the film on that basis alone. It reminded me how good cinema can be, and that unlike a lot of the drivel I watch most of the time, being weird or incomprehensible doesn’t mean one has to sacrifice quality. A good start to a new year.

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