Beacon Film Festival: Persona

  • 15

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Ingmar Bergman's modernist masterpiece explores the volatile relationship between an actress who refuses to speak and the nurse overseeing her convalescence.

After a mischievous montage 'explaining' the film's origins, the narrative proper gets underway, charting the increasingly tense battle of wits between the chatty Alma (Andersson) and the mute Elisabet (Ullmann), who are isolated together in a cottage on the island of Fr. With a rich, resonant mix of related themes - the vampiric nature of art, the complex fragility of personality, the difficulty of communication - the film is arguably Bergman's most audacious and formally innovative work, multi-levelled yet utterly lucid. Sven Nykvist's lustrous camerawork, the subtle sound design and matchless lead performances combine to create a mesmerisingly beautiful work of unforgettable, haunting mystery.

Voted the 17th greatest film Of All time in the BFI 2021 Critics Poll.

"A film to make you shiver with fascination" - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

"More than 50 years after it was made, it hasn't dated in the slightest" - Geoffrey Macnab, Independent

"Ingmar Bergman's enigmatic masterpiece still shines with a piercing intensity" - David Jenkins, Little White Lies

"There's greatness in the power of the performances, the beauty of its images and the deftness of its sudden shifts" - Edward Porter, The Sunday Times

Dir Ingmar Bergman Sweden 1966 (Restored by the BFI 2018) Cast: Liv Ullmann, Bibi Andersson, Gunnar Bjrnstrand Swedish with English subtitles Run time 84min Programmed by Elliot Auxant

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