Ingmar Bergman's Persona

Topics: Ingmar Bergman, Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann Pages: 3 (942 words) Published: May 23, 2006
What different masks do you wear that both reveal and conceal?

In Ingmar Bergman's masterpiece, Persona, the character played by Liv Ullmann, Elisabeth and the nurse, Alma, played by Bibi Andersson are one and the same person. They are "split" when the actress does not want to act any more, and retires to her own self. The term "does not want to act" depicts two things: firstly, she does not want to act as a job, and secondly, in a more distant, but more appropriate interpretation, she does not want to act to the outside world. The nurse is nothing more than the outside appearance of the same person—this is why Mr. Vogler recognizes her (and not Elisabeth) as Mrs. Vogler. Elisabeth is the inner self of the same person: she is a quiet, strong personality. This interpretation is suggested by the director when the two half-faces of the nurse and Elisabeth are put together into one picture, one face. Bergman appropriately chose the title, Persona which is the Greek word for mask and also signifies the social façade that one portrays in public, or image. In the film, the lines between the persona of Alma and Elisabeth are blurred or overlap, and are possibly one in the same. The aforementioned theme hit close to home as I was watching the film because sometimes I feel that I am comprised of and reflect multiple personas. I initially pondered if I should seek therapy, but after realizing that this is a central theme in many novels and films, I have become to feel less alienated and accepted that this is mere human nature. I cannot exactly pinpoint how many different "masks" I wear, as some are slight variations of the same mask, but I will discuss a few in detail:

Mask #1: The Parental Mask
I wear this mask when I go home to visit the parental units and relatives, specifically on holidays and family functions. This mask enables me to become a perfect angel who always says "please and thank you." Magically, it facilitates me to limit my intake of...
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