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The opinions on this particular film vary from “I didn’t get this at all” to “Stunning Cinematography” and so, just from those two comments, one can begin to understand that persona is not your average film with your typical plot, if anything it’s Anti plot, a kind of plot that resents structure and form and takes the viewer on a journey to a place where time and space do not rule anymore.
One can describe persona as very experimental, it is indeed one of those films that explore the psyche aka the conscience of a human being rather than focusing on what the eye sees. The story is of two women who end up in a beach house together, one is an actress and the other is a nurse and they both figuratively merge into each other right before your eyes.
Persona has a really intriguing script. On one hand we have a normal (not really) character that talks, on the other hand we have the other one that doesn’t, not because she’s mute but because, she just stopped. Bergman wrote the script while in the hospital where he was being treated. He himself states that his own psychological state was poor at the time. This is when he started questioning the role of art in general and his in particular and hence: persona was born.
Here are the very first notes of Persona that Bergman has written:
Dejection and sorrow and tears which change to powerful outburts of joy. Sensitivity in the hands. The broad forehead, severity, eyes survey the [unreadable] childishness.
What is it that I want from this, yes, to start from the beginning. Not to contrive not to incite not to cause a fuss but to start from the beginning with my new if I have one.
So she has been an actress – is that acceptable, perhaps And then she fell silent. Nothing unusual about that.
These notes generally serve as a broad explanation of the psychedelic film and also serve their purpose, as Persona eventually becomes a new start in Bergman’s own career.
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In 25 official lists
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This movie ranks #4 in Guldbagge Award
This movie ranks #6 in FLM's Best Swedish Films of All Time
This movie ranks #16 in Sight and Sound 2012 - Combined List
This movie ranks #19 in They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?
This movie ranks #33 in 1960s
This movie ranks #76 in The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema
This movie ranks #88 in FilmTotaal top 100
This movie ranks #91 in iCheckMovies - Most Favorite
This movie ranks #100 in MovieSense 101
This movie ranks #117 in FOK! top 250
This movie ranks #121 in Roger Ebert: the great movies
This movie ranks #139 in 366 Weird Movies (Certified Weird)
This movie ranks #178 in Reddit top 250
This movie ranks #189 in Harvard University's Suggested Film Viewing List: Narrative Films (2012)
This movie ranks #195 in Top 250
This movie ranks #196 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #280 in The Story of Film: An Odyssey
This movie ranks #401 in Cahiers du cinéma - Yearly top 10s
This movie ranks #420 in Amos Vogel's Film as a Subversive Art
This movie ranks #451 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #542 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Films
This movie ranks #658 in Have You Seen? A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films
This movie ranks #661 in The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made
This movie ranks #710 in TimeOut's 1000 Films to Change Your Life
This movie ranks #829 in The Criterion Collection