Ingmar Bergman’s film Persona is aimed at exploring the experiences of a person who lives in an existential world which is dominated by the feeling of loneliness and anxiety. Under such circumstances, people often feel helpless and alienated from one another.
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In turn, Bergman focuses on the relations between two women, Elisabet and Alma, who pass through a period of an intense emotional crisis. These characters try to feel empathy for one another. They find it very difficult to do so. This is one of the issues that should be discussed.
At first, one should pay attention to the opening sequence of this film. This prelude is not presented in the form of a narrative. Instead, the viewers can see various cuts that seem to be unrelated. For example, one can mention the images of crucifixion, a spider, or the slaughter of a lamb. Moreover, it is necessary to remember about an unnamed boy who wakes up in the room in which there are only corpses.
Furthermore, Ingmar Bergman incorporates the excerpts from some horror movie that depicts a person chased by the symbolic figures of death and devil. Overall, these images are necessary to describe the fears of an individual who lives in an existential world.
This is one of the details that can be identified. Moreover, this prelude is necessary to illustrate the artistic depictions of people’s inmost desires and fears. So, the opening sequence plays an important role in this film because it helps the director describe the cultural environment that shapes the worldviews of the main characters.
To a great extent, Ingmar Bergman’s film describes people living in the society in which the existence of God has been questioned. It is difficult for them to find any consolation in religion because it cannot fully explain the existence of cruelty, injustice, or suffering. This is one of the points that can be made. The characters respond to this emotional difficulty in several ways.
For example, Elisabet Vogler becomes completely mute and chooses not to talk to other people. It is possible to say that in this way, she protests against the absurdity and cruelty of the world. One should bear in mind that Elisabet is an actress, and she has to live through the suffering of other people.
However, at some point, this task becomes unbearable to her. In turn, Alma is also overwhelmed by the feelings of helplessness and guilt. She is supposed to act as a nurse for Elisabet. Instead, she speaks about her relationship with her boyfriend and her infidelity.
Furthermore, Alma expresses her concerns about her recent abortion, which produces an indelible impression on her. One can say that Ingmar Bergman describes the experiences of two women who try to understand one another, even though they have different backgrounds.
However, they eventually fail to do it. Elisabet becomes more and more reticent, while Alma is exasperated with Elisabet’s lack of response. The ending is supposed to show that in the existential world, people are often unwilling to put themselves in the position of one another. This is one of the issues that can be singled out.
Nevertheless, Ingmar Bergman’s movie does not offer explicit answers to the viewers. More likely, it is supposed to illustrate how people can adjust to the society in which individuals become increasingly alienated from one another. Moreover, this film shows how people struggle with their anxieties.