Screening on Film
Directed by Ingmar Bergman.
With Liv Ullmann, Bibi Andersson, Gunnar Björnstrand.
Sweden, 1966, 35mm, black & white, 81 min.
Swedish with English subtitles.

One of the most influential films of the 1960s and widely regarded as Bergman’s greatest work, Persona is a cinematic chamber piece whose simplicity belies a representscomplex intervention into both the nature of human relationships and the limits of the cinema. In a striking precredit sequence, situated in a stark, featureless room in which a young boy attempts to reach out and touch the projected image of a woman’s face, we are introduced to the central theme of communication and the primal barriers that inhibit it. Elizabeth (Ullmann), a distinguished actress, has had a breakdown on stage and retreats into silence. She is sent to an isolated country house by the sea with a young nurse, Alma (Andersson), who is as loquacious as Elizabeth is silent. The women’s relationship takes on sexual overtones as their identities merge visually and reality becomes blurred with dream and fantasy.

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Masterworks of Modern Cinema

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