Elliott’s review published on Letterboxd:
The 100 Greatest Directors Club: Ingmar Bergman
It feels almost superfluous to write a review of Persona because its themes of unwanted motherhood, duality and sexuality have been discussed by writers far more talented than I and though I can appreciate this film’s thematic density from afar it was Roger Ebert who once said that the best way to interpret Persona is literally and instead of all of what Bergman was trying to say all that stayed in my head upon finishing was the tone. The direction and shot composition on display here is utterly beguiling, the performances are superb as is the potent dialogue but the transfixing ambience of the cinematography accompanied by tone and music creates a feeling of swelling psychological torment as Alma further confronts her troubled past. For my money the film is about a confrontation of abandoned motherhood but there are several interpretations and for me the story being told on its own is interesting enough to warrant a five. The psychological and theoretical side of things is just icing on the cake.
It’s engrossing stuff and contains some of the best scenes and shots in cinematic history; a towering masterpiece of European film that fully lives up to the hype. What a masterpiece.