By the mid-1960s, Ingmar Bergman had already conjured many of film’s most unforgettable images. But with the radical Persona, this supreme artist attained new levels of visual poetry.
In the first of a series of legendary performances for Bergman, Liv Ullmann plays a stage actress who has inexplicably lost the ability to speak. An equally mesmerizing Bibi Andersson is the garrulous young nurse caring for her. Isolated in a remote island cottage, the women perform a mysterious spiritual and emotional transference that would prove to be one of cinema’s most influential creations. Acted with astonishing nuance—and shot in stark contrast and soft light by the great Sven Nykvist—Persona is a penetrating, dreamlike work of profound psychological depth.