Persona and its discomforting effect

Persona still haunts me weeks after viewing it. The 1966 psychological film has a twisted way of arousing feelings and emotions from the viewer, almost similar [but not quite] to how horror films utilize images, sounds, and scene shifts. As I watched the movie, I found myself feeling on guard, anticipating a jump scare or a shocking event to take place in between the lingering silences and quietness of the movie. The film gave me a sense of anxiousness, making me feel like quitting the viewing while also making me anticipate what is supposed to happen next. The characters were so dynamic, especially the two female leads (the actress and the woman taking care of her). Their isolation highlighted the contrast of their personalities. The actress attentively and eerily listened, her silence deafening, while the other woman showed vulnerability so much so that I felt scared for her. The actress was unpredictable, her stares filled with secrets and dangerous, even sexual intentions. Meanwhile, the woman taking care of her seemed to be bending and adapting to the way the actress silently manipulates her into talking. It was mind-boggling. To be honest, I did not really make sense of the film in its entirety but it did make sense. To me, it’s ass if they were taking on ‘masks’—personas—that makes them think, feel, and act in very unpredictable ways. Technically speaking, the play of shadows and silhouettes in black and white stood out for me. The scenes were simple but the way they were framed and captured added to the psychedelic, twisted effect that leaves the audience clamoring for more. Personally, I do not like rewatching films, but this one is an exception for I feel like every time you watch it, there is a new meaning you just ought to discover.

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