Friday, August 08, 2008

8th Image From Persona

In 2008 we celebrate the 8th Something of Something. Woot!

I snapped this shot from Ingmar Bergman's Persona (1966) months ago. I'm not even sure it's the 8th thing you see in that famous rapid experimental montage that opens the film. I typed up a list of all the images flashing by, some of them repeated: projector lamp, phallus, cartoon, tarantula, young boy, etcetera but promptly lost the list and buried this photo accidentally in a folder within a folder within a folder. (Ah disorganization!) But as with the film its culled from, the image came back to me like a dream. Persona always comes back and demands that you return to it, too.

That is to say that I think of Persona the film as the mute actress (Liv Ullman) it gazes upon and the audience as her frustrated nurse (Bibi Andersson) who struggles to understand her before succumbing to some sort of symbiosis. Persona may make little narrative sense but its emotional and psychological effects are large. It haunts, compels, questions and demands rescreenings. Simply put: it's indisputably great.

"08th" the series
This short-lived blog experiment didn't work out exactly as I planned --too much work and too odd -- but I'm still proud of it. Found some interesting things in interesting movies and what better way to wrap it up and say goodbye than on 08/08/08. Did you miss any of the earlier episodes? Chase the label and view them all.
  • "FEAR!" in Batman Begins
  • Line of dialogue in Volver
  • Costumes in Marie Antoinette
  • Description of Elizabeth
  • Close Up of Carrie's hands
  • Shot of Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain
  • Kill in No Country For Old Men
  • Character in Showgirls
  • Use of Magic in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


Hayden said...

Great film.

I'm overwhelmed by the size of Julia Roberts' mouth in your banner.

Beau said...

Just when I think you can't write about a more fascinating topic, you go to Bergman.

There's never been anyone better.

Anonymous said...

Persona is arguably my favorite Bergman film. Wait, maybe Cries and Whispers is it. Or perhaps the blistering Scenes From a Marriage. They're all phenomenal pieces of work with substantial acting. Any one has a preference on their favorite Bergman film and performance?

Emma said...


Catherine said...

I just saw this for the first time last week! My first Bergman and all. Wonderful.

whitney said...

Persona was the first Bergman film I ever saw. It was a great introduction. I was sort of thrown into Bergman head-first and I was instantly fascinated. No one blows my mind like that Swede.

Beau said...

First one I saw was 'The Seventh Seal'. I generally followed in chronological order, the only exception being that I saw 'Hour of the Wolf' before 'Persona', so that was where I had my first Ullmann encounter. Probably accounts for my peculiar admiration and love for the film, considering that it is one of the strangest and most misunderstood entries in his brilliant filmography.

I can't choose a favorite, personally. It's like asking for the best work by Da Vinci or Mozart or Dylan - each has its own uniqueness to it, but is so fervently entwined with the other works of the same period that it feels like a passage in a longer entry...

The only film of his that I've seen where I felt it was separate from the rest of his oeurve was 'Cries and Whispers'. Exists on another plane entirely. Of all that I've seen in 21 years of watching film, I'm almost certain that I've never seen anything better. Transcendent in every meaning of the word.

Anonymous said...

Persona is like, my favorite film ever. The only film that probably surpasses it is Bergman's own Cries and Whispers. That's how much I love Bergman.