Persona by Ingmar Berman
A nurse and an actress. Different fields of work yet brought together by the same need for escape and peace. At the core of it, they are both just human. Just as the first shots show, watching the beginning of the of Persona, I started off with a lot of questions, the random string of images; A penis, guts spilling out, a hand being nailed, and a view of a spider from below. What would any of these have in common? How are these images connected to the movie itself? I was very confused with everything and I could not really understand why it unsettled me so much. Although it did remind me of the movie Fight Club when the penis appeared and how Tyler Durden places it in the middle of the film slices as to confuse and disturb viewers. After these images, the entire movie (which was presented in black and white) created an environment that both gave an avenue for great performances from both actresses who played the principle roles who were named Anna and Elisabeth. I think it would not have the same effect if it were not in black and white because somehow it could present to us the contrast of these characters but are both colors are needed to create the story, Together hand in hand.
Anna being the nurse portrayed a typical care taker towards Elisabeth. Elisabeth on the other hand after her sudden and abrupt change in attitude, of her not wanting to speak was a great contrast to the fact she is an actress who is supposed to be known for her expressions and emotions tried to avoid the one thing she is supposed to do. As the movie progressed I continued asking more questions, what does it mean to be a person? To have to be your own unique self and be free to have your own story? Once both of them were isolated in the beach house, away from modernity, we find ourselves somewhat disturbed and trapped by the conversations and images presented by the movie and its characters. What was once supposed to be freeing was then a spiral into the craziness of the human psyche. Not much action is needed with Anna’s intense dialogues with Elisabeth (that become monologues instead). There is beauty in the silence as well but every line is calculated, presenting the slow madness that consumes the both of them
The film confused me especially during the last few minutes. It was as if Anna and Elisabeth were suddenly becoming one. Just as in the posters of the movie itself, the characters seem to have merged together or to be two connected pieces to that one puzzle. Overall, this was quite an enjoyable movie and something I would watch again. The way it was all kinds of disturbing and for me is what films should be, to be molded into becoming art pieces in each frame. It leaves you confused yet at the same time wanting more, to delve deeper into each character and their stories.