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Persona

Intro by Suranjan Ganguly, Cinema Studies

Persona

Shakespeare used six words to pose the essential human choice: "To be, or not to be?" Elizabeth, a character in Ingmar Bergman's "Persona," uses two to answer it: "No, don't!" She is an actress who one night stopped speaking in the middle of the performance, and has been silent ever since. Now her nurse, Alma, has in a fit of rage started to throw a pot of boiling water at her. "No, don't!" translates as: I do not want to feel pain, I do not want to be scarred, I do not want to die. She wants . . . to be. She admits . . . she exists.

"Persona" (1966) is a film we return to over the years, for the beauty of its images and because we hope to understand its mysteries. It is apparently not a difficult film: Everything that happens is perfectly clear, and even the dream sequences are clear--as dreams. But it suggests buried truths, and we despair of finding them. "Persona" was one of the first movies I reviewed, in 1967. I did not think I understood it. A third of a century later I know most of what I am ever likely to know about films, and I think I understand that the best approach to "Persona" is a literal one.

The most real objective experiences in the film are the cut foot and the threat of boiling water, which by "breaking" the film show how everything else is made of thought (or art). The most real experience Alma has ever had is her orgasm on the beach. Elizabeth's pain and Alma's ecstasy were able to break through the reveries of their lives. Most of what we think of as "ourselves" is not direct experience of the world, but a mental broadcast made of ideas, memories, media input, other people, jobs, roles, duties, lusts, hopes, fears. Elizabeth chooses to be who she is' Alma is not strong enough to choose not to be Elizabeth. The title is the key. "Persona." Singular.

— Roger Ebert

Persona

Fri December 7, 2018, 7:30 PM, Muenzinger Auditorium

Sweden, 1966, in Swedish, Black and White, 85 min, 1.37 : 1

Director: Ingmar Bergman, Screenplay: Ingmar Bergman, Cast: Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Margaretha Krook, Gunnar Björnstrand, Jörgen Lindström

recommend

Tickets

10 films for $60 with punch card
$9 general admission. $7 w/UCB student ID, $7 for senior citizens
$1 discount to anyone with a bike helmet
Free on your birthday! CU Cinema Studies students get in free.

Parking

Pay lot 360 (now only $1/hour!), across from the buffalo statue and next to the Duane Physics tower, is closest to Muenzinger. Free parking can be found after 5pm at the meters along Colorado Ave east of Folsom stadium and along University Ave west of Macky.

RTD Bus

Park elsewhere and catch the HOP to campus

International Film Series

(Originally called The University Film Commission)
Established 1941 by James Sandoe.

First Person Cinema

(Originally called The Experimental Cinema Group)
Established 1955 by Carla Selby, Gladney Oakley, Bruce Conner and Stan Brakhage.

C.U. Film Program

(AKA The Rocky Mountain Film Center)
First offered degrees in filmmaking and critical studies in 1989 under the guidance of Virgil Grillo.

Celebrating Stan

Created by Suranjan Ganguly in 2003.

C.U. Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts

Established 2017 by Chair Ernesto Acevedo-Muñoz.

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