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  • Persona [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Persona [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]


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Product details

  • Actors: Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Margaretha Krook, Gunnar Björnstrand, Jörgen Lindström
  • Directors: Ingmar Bergman
  • Writers: Ingmar Bergman
  • Producers: Ingmar Bergman
  • Format: Black & White, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Special Edition, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English, Swedish
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: 10 Feb. 2004
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000YEEHG
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 384,752 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

From Amazon.co.uk

Made in 1966, Persona is among Ingmar Bergman's greatest, most vital movies, made during a difficult period in his life (Bergman's life is one short on easy times), having been hospitalised following a viral infection. It was while laid up that he conceived the notion of Persona, in which a famous actress, Elisabet (Liv Ullmann) suddenly lapses into a muteness from which, though mentally and physically healthy, she refuses to emerge. She is attended to by a young, naive nurse, Alma (Bibi Andersson) who develops an obsession, bordering on infatuation with her silent charge. She finds herself jabbering all of her innermost secrets to her and, little by little, through dream sequences, repeated dialogue and trick photography, it's as if the consciousnesses of the two women have actually merged.

With its opening sequence of cryptic projected reel images (allusions to Bergman's previous work), jarringly atonal soundtrack and devices such as the audible chatter of camera crew, Persona contains an unusual share of avant-garde trimmings, which haven't necessarily stood the test of time. However, the relationship between Alma and Elisabet dominates the movie. Some confounded critics wondered if theirs was a lesbian relationship.

Actually, Persona is an occasionally cryptic but overwhelmingly powerful meditation on the parasitic interaction between Art and Life, the way the former feeds off the latter (Alma is distraught to discover a letter at one point which suggests Elisabet has been coolly observing her, as if for material). However, as an early scene featuring TV footage of a Vietnamese Buddhist monk torching himself as a protest against the war, it's also about the helpless incapacity of art to "say" anything in the face of grim reality. A small film budget-wise, but a colossal event in world cinema. --David Stubbs

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Jan. 2006
Format: DVD
Quite simply one of the most remarkable and intense films I have seen, with subject matter that is a milion miles from anything Hollywood can offer.
Nurse and patient, that is basically the premise of the story here but it is far more multi-layered and complex through the lens of Ingmar Bergman.
Eerie and somewhat desolate summer locations are mixed in with stark hospital scenes,camera trickery and dialogue. There are surreal episodes that are all essential to this tale of mental disintegration,possibly schizophrenia.
The leading ladies are typically Nordic,graceful,enchanting and attractive, which works as a camoflage for the unsettling subject matter.
Another masterpiece from scriptwriter/director Bergman.
Note: Package wise another great DVD from Tartan. The quality is good throughout and as usual Bergmans astonishing black and white images are faithfully restored.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Gordon TOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 April 2012
Format: VHS Tape
Originally some the earlier Bergman films harder for me to get into,
because most of the Bergman I saw first were from late in his career
and far more 'naturalistic' - 'Fanny and Alexander', 'Autumn Sonata',
'Scenes From a Marriage' etc. I don't think I understood that for much
of his great career he was as much an experimentalist (at times) as
David Lynch, or Fellini, or Kubrick or Godard. Now that I understand
that, it's easier for me to get excited by the earlier experimental
work.

Also, with 'Persona' the experiment seems more subtle and complex than
in some of Bergman's other early work. The themes are right out in the
open but there's much less literalness in the questions. The whole FILM
is a series of questions, but posed in a poetic way - what is identity?
What is acting? What is film? What are the boundaries between people?
What is reality and what is a dream, both in this film, and in our own
experiences?

This is a haunting deeply disturbing work, and part of it's very
effectiveness is it's 'unexplainability', ala '2001' or a Magritte
painting. Like a Koan, it forces you to try and make sense of something
that has no simple answer.

On first viewing there were a few times when things felt a little on
the nose, or my feeling of 'huh?' was the bad kind, not the good one.

But this is a fascinating film, that combines some of the most truly
dreamlike sequences I've ever seen with what seems a conventional
narrative, only to curve in on itself into obscurity yet again. It is
ultimately the kind of puzzle that art does best - it makes you ponder
things both consciously and subconsciously at the same time.
Read more ›
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 July 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Although made in the mid-sixties, this film only dates in some of the somewhat jarring cinematic effects chosen by Bergman. However, this is also a mark of his work. The story is at once both simple and complex. Above all, the acting by Bibi Andersson as the young nurse adjacent to the cool and at times menacing silence of Elisabet played by Liv Ullman provides a powerful pair of performances.
Although this is a film for those interested in the work of Bergman, it also provides an interesting revelation of how an individual responds to a constant silence from their charge. The literature of negotiation tactics points to the power of silence to make an opponent uncomfortable and at the same time to seek confirmation of their position. Persona takes this to the extreme, where the nurse finds herself chattering away incessantly, whilst revealing ever deeper secrets about herself. She is as much revealing these to herself as to her charge Elisabet. Yet if you watch the film ask yourself who is really doing the revealing.
Well worth watching - it is understandable why this film stunned the critics at the time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. Farnworth on 18 Jun. 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
This film is astonishing in every way.

The beauty of certain scenes resonates with what is human in us, and the ideas explored help us to understand what being a human being can be for those of us that sometimes dare to think, question and feel...
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mark Hilton on 21 Feb. 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
One of Ingmar Bergman's most radical films, 'Persona' can be viewed as a journey in which personality, meaning and individuality blur between fantasy and reality. The tale of a famous actress Elizabet Vogler (Liv Ullman), who inexplicably stops talking, and the young nurse Alma (the astonishing Bibi Andersson) who cares for her at an isolated seaside cottage, this 1966 offering is for many, Bergman's finest film.
Pouring her troubles onto her charge, Alma appears to be strong willed and level-headed, slowly taking charge over her silent counterpart. But faced with this enigmatic patient, her cool facade slowly starts to crumble and she realises that nurse and patient aren't so very different.

The thing with Persona, is that it may baffle film fans who are new to Bergman's work. Recurring motifs like the image of the spider (God), lamb to the slaughter (Christian legacy), and the young boy in a cold room (the boy from 'the silence' 1963) may not mean much to people who haven't seen much of Bergman's work. So as a starting point to Bergman's films this may be too much (and for those who haven't seen any Bergman films, why?), but for any serious film fan, this is essential.

This was the film that cemented Bergman's reputation as not only a film maker, but as an artist. For many, the late, great nordic master comes across as too despairing, too bleak. No argument here. But viewed as a visual poem, this ranks high in the running with the world's best. Bergman's use of isolated location, taboo breaking content and technical wizardry (the two women's faces merge in one extraordinary shot), mean this is baffling, brilliant and at times, beyond words.
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