Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt


One of the most probing explorations into the nature of identity is Ingmar Bergman's classic Persona. The opening sequence is an abstract acknowledgement of the cinematic medium itself. Cinema as a concept is yet another character in the film, one which plays an very active role at times; at one point in the film during a disconnect between the two main 'characters,' the film seems to break and burn in the gate (which caused some alarm for theater-owners screening the film for the first time).

The sequence is often discussed in terms of using the Brechtian alienation technique, which is a valid interpretation, but I think that the boy in the sequence that immediately follows this one (played by Jörgen Lindström, who also appeared in Bergman's 1963 film Silence) is also implied to be the son of Elisabeth (Liv Ullmann), described to that character by the nurse Alma (Bibi Andersson), in one of the film's most raw and damning sequences. Does this boy exist, or is he merely a construct of Elisabeth's mind (as Alma herself is often considered to be)? Or is he merely a creation of the filmmaker? This is, of course, true in the metacinematic sense either way, but because of this montage, the implication is that if the concept of film is an important element of the film, than the identity of the filmmaker is as well.

Please note that this is the original, uncensored version of the scene, and contains the brief image of Mr. Random Happy Penis that was not in the American prints of the film prior to MGM's 2004 DVD release (which I am still looking for, by the way).
Tags: cinema, ingmar bergman, movie moments
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