After I watching Ingmar Bergman’s film, Persona, I was initially quite disturbed with the opening scenes of the film. I thought that this feeling would subside once the plot progressed but the movie just heightened this feeling all the more. I find it difficult to explain what actually happened since I was skeptical how the events played out. It was hard to discern the chronological order of the movie. There were scenes wherein it seemed to be part of a memory but in some cases it seemed to be what was actually going on. Though, it made me wonder if all of this was only happening in their minds (or at least only in Elisabet’s mind) I consider the film as a horror or thriller movie because overall the contents and events that transpired had some eerie vibe into it. The fact that this film contains this vibe made me anticipate for situations that would shock me but some scenes just left me baffled.
As previously mentioned, Persona mostly contained unusual images which was evident already from the beginning. Though the dynamic of the two main characters made me ponder how the director tried to build and destruct each one’s persona. The names of the characters were Elisabet and Alma. The former was an actress who suddenly did not speak with others but remained to interact with others by doing eye contact and using her body language. She was a patient, which seemed to be in a psychiatric ward. The latter portrayed as Elisebet’s personal nurse. Instead of staying in the ward, they went to a vacation house where Alma ended up opening up to Elisabet about her past experiences.
Their relationship seemed to be odd, I could not fully grasp how they perceived each other since there were scenes where they were best buddies but later on Alma getting frustrated with her and shouted at her. What confused me was a scene wherein she read a letter that Elisabet wrote for her doctor to get updates. Apparently, according to that letter Alma was the one being studied by them. I started to question was Alma the one who had mental issues or was it both of them. Another scene which further disoriented me was when the husband referred to Alma as Elisabet. From then on, I started to interpret that possibly the two main characters was essentially one person who has an issue with having a split personality. That is why this particular woman turns her persona into either Alma or Elisabet . (That’s just my theory after watching the film.)
It can be implied that this movie requires the audience mental capacity to reflect about the events happening in the film. They have to process and I guess come up with their own interpretations that may be similar to what writers wanted or not. From what I did, pondering about the film despite leaving me feeling disturbed at first helped me understand what happened and get rid of this feeling.