Identity Crisis

The Swedish Psychological horror film Persona which was directed by Ingmar Bergman is a great and interesting film because of its execution and how it leaves the audience wondering and thinking about the many plot points. I found it a great film because of its use of film conventions to help bring more meaning to the story. One thing I liked is the music and sound effects because it helped bring the right atmosphere and emphasis to the scary scenes. This can be seen even at the start of the film, when it is a black screen and then two lights start appearing. During this scene there is a piercing sound which starts softly and then becomes louder. This music and imagery evokes a feeling of uneasiness and uncertainty as to what is happening in the scene. Another example is during the scene when it shows both of Alma and Elisabet’s faces together in one face and the music became loud and piercing. It gave a feeling of urgency and terror because she was starting to lose her identity as Alma to the character Elisabet. The film used camera angles and costumes to greatly emphasise the theme of identity. During the time in the cottage, we can see that both actresses are wearing an identical white dress to sleep. There is also another scene which is when Alma was interrogating Elisabet about his son whom she did not love and tried to abort, and both Alma and Elisabet are wearing black. By showing these two characters wearing the same clothes in one scene, it makes the audience feel like they are both the same person, and this supports how Alma is slowly becoming Elisabet. There are also many scenes wherein the camera angles put Alma and Elisabet’s face very close together, and this helped emphasise how similar they are becoming. One example was when Elisabet stood behind her and held her forehead, and then their heads moved to opposite sides as if to show they are becoming one.

The film’s plot is also very interesting because of how it does not explain everything and it makes the audience reflect and think more on the interpretation of the film. This can be seen at the start of the film because of how it shows a goat bleeding and a young boy trying to touch a picture of a woman’s face. The film does not explicitly explain who the boy is or the connection of the goat to the story, but after watching the film I believe that the boy is Elisabet’s son whom she tried to abort. I think it is her son because the woman’s face appears to be Elisabet and the boy is trying to reach out to her out of love. Alma states near the end of the film that Elisabet despises her son while the son loves her immensely. The invisible wall that the boy is touching can be the barrier that Elisabet put between them to distance herself from him. This was another different film for me but I enjoyed the story and execution of it because of how it shows rather than tells the audience as to what is going on.

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