Jim Dooley’s review published on Letterboxd:
I believe that if I saw PERSONA in a double feature with Roman Polanski's REPULSION, I probably wouldn't sleep for a month.
This is truly an amazing film that I'm sure is going to haunt me for some time to come. It's not surrealism, per se. The characters seem aware that they are being watched by the Viewer ... and, by the way, the director is going to let us know that he is also following along, too.
In looking up the definition, I found that a persona is the aspect of someone's character that is presented or perceived by others. In this film, it is an aspect that is shared with others.
The plot is a simple one. An actress who has remained silent since she froze on-stage during a performance is assigned a full time nurse who takes her away to a summer seaside home. Once there, though, the persona blurs between the two women.
Bibi Andersson as the nurse is nothing short of dazzling in this film. Liv Ullmann, a truly remarkable actress, is both a guiding force and the canvas on which the nurse paints. I was blown away.
The director, Ingmar Bergman, is obviously using these characters to search for something. Is it in himself? Is it a more philosophical question? Is he seeking reasons for the choices made? I don't know. However, the journey is extremely fascinating.
PERSONA cries out for repeated viewings. It certainly takes film in a direction that I hadn't seen prior to this.