Persona

Persona ★★★★

My third Ingmar Bergman film, and one with a whooole lot to unpack. Definitely one of those movies that, at the end of it, if you asked me if I liked it, or if we paused it at any point and said, 'hey, are you having a good time right now', the answer would probably be no, because this movie is frequently stressful and disturbing or obtuse, or both at once. Not a movie to watch to wind down from a long day at work or on a first date by any stretch of the imagination, but not every movie has to be that, of course. I think the thing that strikes me first and foremost about this movie is its visuals, which are unlike anything I've ever seen before. I've never seen a movie whose blocking made me think so much about what is capable with a movie camera vs any other storytelling medium - Bergman's constant juxtaposition of Liv Ullmann and Bibi Andersson's faces goes great lengths at setting the tone for this film and its exploration of two personalities converging, and the dreamscape setting of both the hospital and the beachside cabin remind me of some of David Lynch's more nightmarish work. The soundtrack is also pure nightmare fuel. Bibi Andersson's performance in this is also really stunning (not that Liv Ullmann's is bad, but she's silent for most of the movie, so it's hard to compare) - I just watched John Cassavetes' 'A Woman Under The Influence' earlier this week, so I guess this is just a week for harrowing performances by lead actresses.