Persona

One of Bergman’s most famous and audacious experiments in a career filled with piercing character studies and psychological realism unparalleled in Western cinema, Persona is a taut, unflinching portrait of two women at once: Elisabet Vogler (Liv Ullmann), a famous actress who has ceased speaking, and her caretaking nurse Alma (Bibi Andersson). Elisabet goes months without a word, which drives her doctors to send her to a remote house on the ocean with Alma in order to recuperate. Instead, Alma begins divulging her life’s escapades, from the mundane to the shocking, while Elisabet secretly sends letters back to the city, analyzing Alma’s behavior and stories. Showing a mediated and media-ized view of some of the foremost atrocities of the 20th century through Elisabet’s eyes, Persona subtly moves to the uncanny, as the two women’s lives begin to deeply intermingle. “A film we return to over the years, for the beauty of its images and because we hope to understand its mysteries.”—Roger Ebert. (Swedish with English subtitles)

Genres: Drama