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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

Other Films by Ingmar Bergman

Summer with Monika

Originally regarded as an erotic exploitation film, Monika enjoyed reappraisal as Bergman gained international recognition. Here he first articulates his recognizable psychological affinity with the ocean shore in a story of naïve desire and doomed romance. Shy, bourgeois Harry (Lars Ekborg) and the sultry, restless Monika (Harriet Andersson), escape their dreary lives in Stockholm and

The Virgin Spring

Bergman returns to the medieval Sweden of The Seventh Seal with this decidedly modern parable based on a 14th-century religious folk tale pitting Christian revenge against pagan magic. Töre (Max Von Sydow), a devoted father, leads a quiet, dignified family life. His love for his daughter Karin (Birgitta Pettersson) is affectionate but overbearing, and his

Smiles of A Summer Night

The inspiration for Woody Allen’s A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy and Steven Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, Bergman’s Smiles is an erotic, nostalgic jab at upper-class sexual repression and marital dysfunction. At a turn-of-the-century country estate, eight men and women—invited for a summer weekend—embark on frenzied rounds of sexual intrigue and deception as they variously

Autumn Sonata

Bergman’s only collaboration with Swedish film legend Ingrid Bergman, Autumn Sonata serves as a complimentary, yet more melancholy parallel to Wild Strawberries. Charlotte (Bergman), a professional musician, examines her life from the contemplative perch of old age. After having watched a lover die, she is reunited with her neglected and estranged daughter. Eva (Liv Ullmann)

Shame

Musicians Jan (Max Von Sydow) and Eva (Liv Ullmann), take refuge in a remote farmhouse hoping to escape the coming horrors of a civil war. There they face Bergman’s classic themes of personal isolation and fatalism, set in the context of political violence. Shame finds the director trying to make sense of postwar Europe in