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Bergman’s modernist masterpiece explores the volatile relationship between an actress and her nurse.

Image from Persona

Sweden 1966
Dir Ingmar Bergman
With Liv Ullmann, Bibi Andersson, Margaretha Krook, Gunnar Björnstrand
English subtitles
Certificate 15

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 Fårö. 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.

Geoff Andrew, Programmer-at-large

The screening on Tuesday 16 January 18:20 features an extended introduction by Richard Ayoade.

See our Seniors’ matinee + intro on Friday 12 January 14:00, and our Ingmar Bergman season.


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