Persona ★★★★★

My first Bergman -- it seems strange to think that I love Mulholland Drive so much and I'd never seen this, but Persona and Mulholland Drive have more in common for me than just their subject matter. Both films evoked a really visceral reaction that I rarely get. Mulholland Drive had me terrified, then blissed out, then sobbing. Persona had me frozen, both horrified and deeply drawn in. I was unable to move. Parts of this film felt like they physically hurt me.

A lot of reviews on here say that they need to rewatch this film to fully understand it. I can only echo this sentiment. But why give it 5 stars if I've only seen it once and I don't understand it? There's no analysis in this "review", just an emotional reaction. I felt like the opening of this film broke open the sphere of what I saw as cinematically possible (I'd heard about it, especially the spliced in dick, but I wasn't ready for it) The relationship between the two women felt so real, tender and violent. The imagery is dreamlike and nightmarish, especially the shot of the boy looking into the screen/wall with the blurred changing faces. The story itself is relatively stripped back, essentially just two people talking, and yet it's deeply immersive while never not reminding us that it's a piece of metacinema. I had strange and uncomfortable dreams after watching this. I can't wait to have more.

Directors 1/60

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