Is Bergman’s Persona one of the best films in the History of Cinema? Before, when I tried to think about New York I have the Brooklyn Bridge in my mind and the fabulous scene of Woody Allen’s Manhattan but, I must confess, I never thought of Ingmar Bergman. But Mr. Allen loved the Swedish director and he recognizes him like maybe the best director in the History.
My favorite Bergman’s film is Persona (1966), one masterpiece about the duality and a clear and obscure reflection about the piece of art and cinema, but I can recognize his genius even in his most static films. Approaching Bergman is maybe a difficult way but, when you can touch his symbols and you can understand his universe, you can feel the true connection between his films, the evolution of his art and a really way to knowledge about the art of making films and to understand this land of shadows and tortured souls. Persona is not a film about the duality but it is and Persona is not a movie about how to make movies but it is… Is it then Bergman a fake? The true reflection in Persona is maybe the Elisabeth’s lie. Who’s your nurse? Both talk and we begin to know the truth preciusely when we understand they are lying us. I love when Bergman breaches one of the cinema rules: never look at the camera… and he does it in many films like saying to the spectator: are you here or am I there? What’s the cruel truth? We can feel the hot and cold in the same time we can feel scared and morbid. The sadomasochist relationship between the two main characters became something more special like a simple love story, becoming a silent question about the existence, the art and Humankind condition.
We begin our way with images of cameras and crucifixion and tarantulas and lambs. What’s the meaning? We cannot expect a traditional film of adventures and Bergman isn’t lying to us. We are going to watch a special picture and you need to forget all of the films you have watched before. Persona is not a slow film but it’s a concentrated movie and every photogram contains an idea and every word contains a part of the secret. Are we watching just a film about two lesbians? We can think it but the film is much more than a sexual Freudian passage. Elisabeth and Alma, Alma and Elisabeth like a ridiculous tale of Poe, William Wilson. We can think about the Egyptian Ka (the mirror image of the soul in old Egyptian religion) and the medieval double… but we begin to think about something more because Bergman is always talking us about something more than the image and words. The film begins and ends with symbolist images but the main structure is like a false theatre play in a false movie theatre. Bergman uses the slow rhythm to create his most fast film, his most open and abrupt creation, a clear film about the darkest way to eternity and sin.
Have you noticed yet that I love this film?