18 September 2000 | zetes
I don't know what to say about Persona, but I know I have to say something. I can say straight out that I did not fully grasp it, nor do I believe that it is fully able to be grasped. Like my favorite film, 2001, Persona allows for a plethora of interpretations, none of which can ever be said to be correct. But I know now that I do not understand everything. And I love that about it.
Jesus, it needs to be released on DVD. Criterion, are you listening??? Screw everything else for the moment, do a DVD edition of Persona complete with scholarly commentary (and not the same scholar who commented on your edition of The Seventh Seal, because he did not answer my questions). Not that I want anybody to tell me definitively what anything means, because I doubt anyone can do that. I just want some people to share my thoughts with. I want to watch and rewatch this film dozens of times. With a DVD, a nice one, I could scrutinize it extremely carefully, as I have thankfully been able to do with such great films as The Seventh Seal, The Third Man, Nashville, etc, etc, etc. Watch a scene, quickly rewind, watch it again and memorize each and every word and motion. I'm starting to feel like the main character from Antonini's Blowup! I rented this film two days ago and have watched it twice. If I had not been so tired the first night, I surely would have gone through it a second time that very same night. Doubtless, I would have done it again later. And I still have it for a couple of days, the rest of my life be damned!
All I can really comment on is the artistry of Sven Nykvist, the cinematographer, always been one of the very best, and on the acting skills of Liv Ulmann and especially Bibi Andersson, who gives one of the bravest and most powerful performances I've ever seen in a movie. I would compare her skill in this film to my favorite performance of all time (that I've seen): Marlon Brando in Last Tango in Paris. It seemed to me that she was becoming extremely involved in her character.
And this is where I need to just engulf myself in this film. While I cannot exactly "get" this film from a narrative angle entirely, the important thing, and the aspect of the film which will no doubt bring me back time after time (as long as I can someday get it on DVD, because, as far as I'm concerned, VHS is only for rental anymore) is the emotional aspect. While my intellect had a somewhat difficult time holding on to the text of the film, my emotions were right with the characters. It was an extraordinarily gut-wrenching film for me, and I felt, well, some weird feelings after it ended (part of which certainly had to do with the fact that certain parts of the movie boggled my mind). So my final score is without a doubt a 10/10. Few movies compare.