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Persona Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Review

Persona Blu-ray-DVD Combo Pack

“Persona” will no doubt divide viewers.

In Ingmar Bergman’s critically acclaimed “Persona,” viewers are plunged into an experimental and surrealistic story about identity, dreams, pain, fear, motherhood, women, and human fragility. The story, as best as can be described, involves an actress named Elisabet Vogler (Liv Ullmann) who suddenly and unexpectedly becomes mute. Whether she was having a breakdown, became ill, or put on an elaborate act is unclear. At any rate, after this puzzling incident, Elisabet finds herself under the care of a nurse (Sister Alma). Since Alma is forced to do all of the talking, she finds herself opening up to Elisabet in ways she doesn’t expect. More than that, however, Alma starts to become Elisabet to a certain degree. Basically, you just have to see it for yourself as describing the plot does the film an injustice.

While often cited as one of Bergman’s masterworks, “Persona” doesn’t feel like many of his renowned films such as “Wild Strawberries.” It certainly isn’t as accessible either. While Bergman aficionados and arthouse film fans will adore digging into the film’s weighty themes other viewers will likely be yelling “What is going on?” to the screen. This psychological drama/character study can certainly be frustrating to work out as it often feels like a very personal piece of art for Bergman. You only need watch the opening 10 minutes to see that.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. How does it look? This 1966 B&W classic looks better than ever in hi-def. The exquisite lighting is especially noteworthy here.

Audio Track: Swedish Uncompressed Mono. How does it sound? This track is better than your average Mono track which is saying A LOT.

Extras:
* “Persona” trailer.
* A booklet featuring an essay by Professor Thomas Elsaesser, interview excerpts from the “Bergman On Bergman” book, and an interview with actress Bibi Andersson from “The Ingmar Bergman Archives” book.
* Separate interviews with Ingmar Bergman, Liv Ullmann, and Paul Schrader.
* A sort of roundtable interview with Bibi Andersson, Ingmar Bergman and Liv Ullmann from 1966.
* A collection of 18 minutes of on set footage narrated by Bergman expert Birgitta Steene.
* “Persona’s Prologue: A Poem In Images”- A 20 minute visual essay by Bergman enthusiast Peter Cowie about the opening imagery.
* “Liv And Ingmar”- An 84 minute documentary film told through Liv Ullmann’s point of view. The film explores their working relationship, romance, child, careers, etc. While the style of the documentary is a bit much, this is easily the best extra on the set.

Overall Thoughts: Pretentious? Brilliant? That’s up for you to decide. “Persona” may not be for everyone, but it’s certainly an intriguing and challenging work of art nonetheless.

April 15, 2014 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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