Persona (1966)

The film, Persona (1966) was quite jarring to me, as it had a disturbing effect on the viewers. Due to its complex plot and ideas, it was definitely difficult to pinpoint and digest the meanings of certain parts of the film. The first part of the film, which consisted of a boy reaching towards a screen that displayed Elizabeth’s face, was already so confusing to a point that I had decided to ignore it as I felt like it wasn’t an important piece of the story. Weirdly enough, that same scene appeared again in the middle of the film which confused me even more.

The story of the movie seems to share a story of the two main characters, Elma and Elizabeth. Elizabeth, a stage actress, loses her speech while she was shooting scenes for a movie. This scene was repetitively shown throughout the film for reasons, which were honestly quite difficult to understand and pick up. Without the ability to really cure her silence, the doctor decided to send her to rest house by the beach with Elma, a new nurse, as her aid.

As Elizabeth continues to have problems with her speech, it seems like all Elma could really do was talk to her and share her life experiences. This has gotten to a point that she even shared her deepest and darkest secrets to Elizabeth. The two seemed to care for each other so much, that when they were in a situation that got Elma intoxicated, Elizabeth was able to speak for a mere second. In this point and time of the film, the two characters were getting to know each other so much that it seems like there was some romantic tension that was going on. I felt that Elizabeth seemed to become attached to Elma as she would always be brushing her hair and watching her every move. After a while, the film also led me to think that the two characters probably saw who they wanted to be in each other. They seemed to be each other’s persona, which is why I assume the title of the film is “Persona”. Elma always looked up to the theatrical works of Elizabeth, as she would always see herself. Elizabeth, who lost her voice, seemed to not really understand who she was as she was an actress playing the roles of different characters. It seems like she saw herself most in Elma as well. The film used much cinematic symbols and situations, as the two seemed to be so attached to each other that you couldn’t even tell them apart, which was both very weird and freaky.

The way the whole movie was constructed and produced seemed all quite new to me. My inability to be able to appreciate the film, as most people would, frustrated me. I felt like all it was able to do was confuse and creep me out. This film, Persona (1966) is one that definitely left me questioning my ability to be able to understand and digest films with much deeper and hidden meanings, through the used symbols.

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