I thought I saw a version of Persona (Ingmar Bergman, 1966) in which at the end the director and cinematographer (Sven Nykvist) are seen talking. It must have been another film from the one I saw tonight.

Everyone mentions the moment when Elisabet says, ‘No, stop it!’ but no-one notes that she and Alma sing together. The little girl in Amy (Nadia Tass, 1997) can also only communicate in song.

I see a connexion between Persona (1966) and The Face (Ansiktet, 1958, also known The Magician). ‘Persona’ is of course the Greek word for a mask – something that covers the face. I see the later film as Ingmar Bergman’s essay on the nature of the actor, retrospectively drawing attention to what the mask covers, the subject of the earlier film: the creative artist. The subtext [this is for a friend who firmly believes that works of art are only of value, not for their surface, their appearance, but for their subtext - each should have one and only one, and it should be 'about' something - but I disagree with her] the subtext of Ansiktet is the creator: writer, film-maker. The real magician here is the writer/director of the film – remember that Bergman’s autobiography is called The Magic Lantern!

Persona (Ingmar Bergman, 1966)
The Face (Ingmar Bergman, 1958; Ansiktet: aka The Magician)

Garry Gillard | New: 4 March, 2017 | Now: 27 April, 2019