Persona – Golden Jubilee of the Gem

Today is the 50th anniversary of the classic Persona, one of the best movies of the most acclaimed Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. Elisabet is an actress who stops speaking at the middle of a play, and is suggested to spend time in an isolated place nursed by Alma. Her Psychologist thinks it might help. As the nurse tries to make her talk, she develops an emotional bond towards Elisabet. She opens up about herself to Elisabet. As the time passes she learns more about Elisabet and what happens forms the rest of the movie.

Iconic shot from Persona
Iconic shot from Persona

This movie is talked and celebrated not only for the haunting imagery in the movie but also for the ‘n’ number underlying themes. It is one of those rare movies which gives you the pleasure of discovering something new on every watch. Trying to decipher the underlying theme and understanding the symbolisms are treats for any movie buff. The movie stands tall among the other wonderful creations of the director Ingmar Bergman.

The souls of the movie are Liv Ullman and Bibi Anderson who portrayed Alma and Elisabet respectively. They pull off the character like a charm. It is not only tough but portraying such ambiguous character is nearly impossible. The movie is minimalism at its best. The camera work of Sven Nykvist is considered the best. The thematic representation and portrayal of illness, role reversal, identity are excellently exhibited by him.

The iconic scene from persona

The underlying theme has been discussed a lot in many of the forums. Identity is one of the primary theme discussed in the movie. Identity as a person, identity of a person, role reversal, the inner self and so many themes are excellently portrayed in the movie. This movie also serves as an inspiration to many other movies dealing with the same theme. Some of them are David Fincher’s Fight Club and David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive. In fact the Mulholland drive also features two leading ladies and one among them is an actor. Robert Altman’s 3 Women is another movie dealing on the theme of identity took inspiration from Persona. Also in the movie Seven Psychopaths the priest setting fire in Vietnam was inspired by the initial view of Alma.

Movies such as Persona are Gold, whose value increase over the time. It is Hightime we remember and celebrate the visionary who made a gem like this half a century ago.

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