★★★½ /DCP/ A beautifully stylized puzzle, exploring the existential despair of an actress who one day stops speaking. There is a wondrous openness in the filmmaking, grounded in the brilliance of both Ullman, a performance within the eyes and Anderson, extraordinary, a solid center cracking at self-examination. A tad bit too evasive and reliant on its imagery. A film permeated with ideas unsure how to end.
One of the few films in which interpretation is truly subjective. Personally, I favor the Jungian metaphor of becoming the masks we put on to blend in society, and the inevitable struggle with the subconscious. Regardless, an extraordinary work of directing, lensing, editing and acting, Persona is not only a crowning achievement of experimental cinema, but of all cinema.
Truly magnificent in every respect, this is a fragmentary but utterly enthralling psycho-breakdown of ‘self’ conveyed in filmic language. A breakdown in most senses too, both emotional and analytical, although whether the parts are put back together again is unknown and repays repeated viewing - something revealed afresh each time. Stark, piercing and beautifully timed - take note all those that ape this masterwork.
One of Bergman's most inspired films, and the new blu ray is one of the best transfers I have ever seen, even for Criterion. Ullmann and Andersson work beautifully together, and the tight natural lit cinematography from Nykvist really adds to the mental dread the main characters experience. Essential viewing, and a must own in my opinion for any serious home collector. 5 easy stars