The Magician/Ansiket/The Face

The Face (Ansiktet, 1958) aka The Magician; dp Gunnar Fischer; Max von Sydow, Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Björnstrand, Naima Wifstrand, Bengt Ekerot, Bibi Andersson, Gertrud Fridh, Lars Ekborg, Toivo Pawlo, Erland Josephson, Ake Fridell, Sif Ruud, Oscar Ljung, Ulla Sjöblom, Axel Düberg
When 'Vogler's Magnetic Health Theater' comes to town, there's bound to be a spectacle. Reading reports of a variety of supernatural disturbances at Vogler's prior performances abroad, the leading townspeople (including the police chief and medical examiner) request that their troupe provide them a sample of their act, before allowing them public audiences. The scientific-minded disbelievers try to expose them as charlatans, but Vogler and his crew prove too clever for them.

I see a connexion between and The Face (Ansiktet) and Persona (1966). ‘Persona’ is 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' 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: 19 June, 2022