Summary: A nurse retreats to the seaside with a patient who refuses to speak, hoping the change of scene will help. Instead, her seclusion with the mute patient drives her to insanity.
Thoughts: A strange film for director Ingmar Bergman, at least compared to the films of his I’ve seen. Persona is a very ambiguous self-conscious psychological drama. I’m really not quite sure what to make of it. The utter weirdness of it was enough to keep me engaged, but it confused me more than anything else. I suppose my interpretation is this: the nurse was the one with the problems from the beginning, while the patient just needed a time-out from the world’s chaos. So when the nurse is confronted with the patient who won’t speak, she projects her own inner turmoil onto the patient, externalizing her inner conflicts and attempting to play them out, destroying her chances of offering the sort of help the patient actually needs, making her own conflicts only that much more impossible to work through. Overall, it’s a very interesting film, but certainly a bizarre one. I especially enjoyed the often wild befuddling facial framing, which all somehow worked brilliantly. And at least it’s all a more solid film than Tarkovsky’s The Mirror.