In Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, I fully experienced for the first time what an uncompromising art film looks like. The beginning of the film was such a culture shock because I just did not get what it was trying to say. It was a barrage of somewhat random images that I felt was used to provoke a reaction from the audience. But, even though the first flash of images was confusing, it was still very interesting and really grabbed my attention. I was really enamored by the images because I wanted to know what they meant and do they have a purpose for the film later. I really didn’t get any answer after watching the film but it was an effective hook for me to really get interested in the movie.
The film itself was somewhat of a new experience because it was purely a conversation between one woman who speaks and another who just listens. This is quite different from the mainstream movies that we are accustomed to because it feels like there was no real exciting moments that was happening in the movie. But, when you actually listen to every word that Alma says it is quite an interesting conversation. She bare all her deepest darkest thoughts to Elisabet and it is quite refreshing to have such a bare conversation that is not afraid to tackle the dark topics that was presented.
The two actresses were so interesting to watch, but in very different ways. Majority of the film, we only hear the voice of Alma and her delivery of her dialogue is so striking because she has to embody the vulnerability in most of the movie. She keeps us locked in the screen because she was able to capture our attention and want to listen to her like Elisabet.
For Elisabet, it was different because she barely had any lines in the movie. With that the actress, Liv Ullmann, had to carry out the character through her facial expressions. I found that her expressive eyes were so enamoring and that they were able to capture your attention immediately.
I personally still have so many questions about the movie, but visually it was one of the most beautiful movies I watched in the most minimalistic way. One of the most noteworthy scenes were the blockings between the two actresses that that really highlighted their faces. The use of the close up in the movie was really done well because the facial expressions of the two actresses could really just tell the story of the movie.
I really found this film to be a great way to introduce oneself to art films because even though it might be a difficult watch, there is so much to appreciate in the movie. It is also such a refreshing way to make movies that is so opposite from the mainstream. It feels like you are not watching the movie to be entertained, but I suddenly began watching it more of appreciating the new or different thing being done in the film. It may not be easy to understand, but it cannot be denied that there is something amazing in the movie.
Enrico Barruela COM 115.5 A