Persona ★★★★★

Persona is a most frightening, disorienting, and mesmerizing experience. Everybody knows the story of two women starting to merge personalities but Bergman’s real exploration comes from the question of “why”.

Persona is a film that is evidently so freely interpreted that everything written about it will have different answers depending on the writer. I perceive the film is taking place in the human psyche and I see it as a steadfast enigma concerning the human ability to either sin or create, the wide range of our coping mechanisms, the toll that we take from guilt and from our regrettable actions, the inadequacy of social conventions explaining the depths of our psyche, and the very purpose of our art and how it concerns or rather refracts our approach to life.

Elisabeth, played shockingly by the acting goddess Liv Ullman, is an actress who, in her apparent state of depression, gives her greatest performance yet as she bears the weight of much of our collective vices and recklessness. Her interactions with Alma, played excellently by Bibi Andersson, ranges from Stockholm syndrome to pure hatred and other emotions outpouring from the passions that ensue.

Take what you may from this splendiferous film from Bergman, who’s implying that he’s delving straight into the very essence and purpose of filmmaking itself as he peels away our levels of emptiness, anxiety, fear, and perpetual benefits of knowledge. This is one film that mercilessly takes its viewers in a wondrous journey of stimulating ideas and rewarding brilliance. Oh yea, the visuals will also make your hair blow wildly in its winds.

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