Persona

Persona

Ingmar Bergman's 'Persona' begins with a prologue which I can only describe as unsettling. Dissonant strings, fractured images of spiders, upside down strips of animated film and Christ like crucified palms. before opening up to the sight of the dead bodies of two old people in a room with plain walls. It is hard to grasp what is going on but it plays like a disturbing prelude to a fractured mind, like much of the film it is like a mirror to Bergman's own anxieties as he made the film during a time of great depression. Let's also not forget the subliminal shot of an erect penis, paid tribute to in David Fincher's 'Fight Club'. It is a miraculous opening, one that reminds me of Jonathan Glazer's recent 'Under the Skin'. It is pushing the art of cinema in extraordinary ways whilst telling us explicitly that it is a piece of cinema, later in the film the print breaks up and a whole is burnt through it and we also see other subliminal shots of farcical silents films and camera's filming to further make that point. The camera compositions are quite stunning too, the close ups make the film equally claustrophobic as it is intimate, the faces of Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann are haunting and beguiling to watch.

After only just seeing it for the first time I must admit there is much to dissect with this film but for me it felt like a study of a women suffering from extreme postnatal depression, her fractured mind producing a silent mirror to herself which is reflected back at her, slowly driving her insane. All I know is that I was very, very impressed with it, even if I can't fully put my finger on why.

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