Monday, 20 February 2012

Screening and Discussion - Persona

On February the 23rd Persona will be screened at 4.15 in the New Academic Building LG02. This will be followed by an informal discussion.

Ingmar Bergman's Persona (1966), widely recognized as his most extraordinary and influental film, is a rich and poetic study of womanhood and identity - not to mention of cinema itself. Elizabeth (Liv Ullman) is a famous actress who is suddenly taken ill and left without speech. While convalescing on the coast, she is cared for by Nurse Alma (Bibi Andersson) and, silenced by her possibly psychosomatic illness, finds that her nurse does the talking for both of them. Gradually the two women's personalitites merge and the boundaries between their identities begin to blur.

Bergman later said about Persona; "Today I feel that in Persona, I had gone as far as far as I could go. And that in [this] instance when working in total freedom, I touched wordless secrets that only the cinema can discover". The film has been, and still is, subjected to a wide range o
f interpretations - Susan Sontag suggests that Persona is constructed as a series of variations on a theme of 'doubling' and proposes that the subject of the film is 'violence of the spirit' whilst film sholar Adam P. Sitney offers quite a different reading, arguing that "Persona covertly dramatizes a psychoanalysis from the point of view of a patient". Apart from this, the extremely minimalist and experimental style of the film makes it a special instance in the history of cinema - during filming Bergman wanted to call it "A Bit of Cinematography".


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