Persona
Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann
Persona
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PERSONA
COMMENTARY


"Through a Glass Darkly and Winter Light and The Silence and Persona I've called chamber works. They are chamber music–music in which, with an extremely limited number of voices and figures, one explores the essence of a number of motifs. The backgrounds are extrapolated, put into a sort of fog. The rest is a distillation."
– Ingmar Bergman, Bergman on Bergman (1969)


"Bergman wanted to cut that scene [beach orgy monologue]. His wife had read it or–I don't know–but he was advised not to keep it in. I said, 'Let me shoot it, but just let me alter certain words no woman would say. It's written by a man, and I can feel it's a man. Let me change certain things.' He said, 'You do what you want with it. We'll shoot it, and then we'll go and see it together.' He was very embarrassed and so was I–I was terribly embarrassed to do the scene. We shot it in one long close-up in one take. Two hours. We started rehearsing at nine, and we were through at eleven. There was both Liv's and my own close-up. Then we saw it, and he said, 'I'll keep it. It's so good. But I want you, all by yourself, to go into the dubbing room, because there's something wrong with the sound.' I didn't think so. I had been talking very high, very girlish. So the whole monologue was dubbed afterward, and I changed my voice. I suddenly put my voice lower, and that I dared to do when I was totally alone and no one could watch me or see me or anything. That might be what gives the scene a certain intimate quality."
Bibi Andersson, "Dialogue on Film," American Film (March 1977)


"I think that for a while the two women really mingled, that I as a nurse understood her. I identified with her, and I was even able to say things in her place. I'm sure all this will change the life of the nurse, because before that she had been very square. She had never used her imagination toward other people; she had never analyzed what was happening to herself either. Suddenly, through the silence of the other woman, she was able to put herself in her place, understanding her world and her thinking and to express that."
Bibi Andersson, "Dialogue on Film," American Film (March 1977)


"At some time or other, I said that Persona saved my life–that is no exaggeration. If I had not found the strength to make that film, I would probably have been all washed up."
– Ingmar Bergman, Images: My Life in Films (1990)


"Today I feel that in Persona–and later in Cries and Whispers–I had gone as far as I could go. And that in these two instances, when working in total freedom, I touched wordless secrets that only the cinema can discover."
– Ingmar Bergman, Images: My Life in Films (1990)