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Persona

Sweden 1966. Dir: Ingmar Bergman. 84 min. DCP

Ingmar Bergman’s first film with actress Liv Ullmann is a certifiable masterpiece and a key work of modernist cinema. It is certainly the great director’s most formally innovative work: a disturbing, endlessly fascinating rumination on art, identity, personality, and cinematic reality. Ullmann plays a prominent stage actress suddenly stricken mute. Bibi Andersson is the talkative nurse tasked with her care at a remote seaside cottage. The personalities of the two women begin to break down and merge; occasional Godardian devices break down conventional cinema’s fourth wall. Sven Nykvist’s cinematography, employing intense close-ups to radical effect, is extraordinary. “Persona is to film what Ulysses is to the novel” (John Simon). “I feel that in Persona — and later in Cries and Whispers — I had gone as far as I could go ... I touched wordless secrets that only the cinema can discover” (Bergman).


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REVIEWS

"Ingmar Bergman's enigmatic masterpiece still captivates ... Persona is a film to make you shiver with fascination, or incomprehension, or desire."

The Guardian | full review

"Bergman at his most brilliant ... An infinitely rewarding film."

Time Out | full review

"Ingmar Bergman’s enigmatic masterpiece still shines with a piercing intensity."

Little White Lies | full review