The Use of Symbols in Persona

Topics: Un Chien Andalou, Ingmar Bergman, Salvador Dalí Pages: 2 (638 words) Published: April 23, 2009
Ingmar Bergman’s film, Persona, allows for a plethora of interpretations, none of which can really be said to be correct. The film is overflowing with symbolism just within the credit sequence that is later repeated throughout the movie. Within the structure, the elements continue being related to each other. It is easy to become disoriented in flash backs, dream sequences, and personality confusion that characterizes the action of the film. This makes it hard to create a clear picture of the action within the story.

There is a lot of sexual imagery in the opening and ending sequences, mostly at a subliminal level. Bergman shows many phallic symbols, one being the thrusting hot metal rods. The end sequence shows the same close up shot of hot metal easing back as though spent. It was as though the creative process of making the movie was paralleled to the sex act.

The montage at the beginning of Persona plays homage to the montage that came at the beginning of the groundbreaking surrealist film Un Chien Andalou, by Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali.
Persona begins with darkness. Then two points of light gradually gain in brightness, until we see that they're the two carbons of the arc lamp; after this, a portion of the leader flashes by. Then follows a suite of rapid images, some barely identifiable: a long shot chase from a slapstick silent film, an erect penis; a close up of a nail being hammered into the palm of a hand; a close up shot from the rear of a stage of a heavily made-up actress declaiming to the footlights and darkness beyond, we see this image soon again and know that it's Elizabeth playing her last role, and assorted dead bodies in a morgue. All these images go by very rapidly, mostly too fast to see; but gradually they're slowing down, as if consenting to adjust to the time in which the viewer can comfortably perceive them. Then follows a final set of images, run off at normal speed. It turns out that these symbols...
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