Existentialism in Art Cinema

' The chaos in your soul will give birth to a dancing star.'
Friedrich Nietzsche.

Bergmans 1966 film Persona, is surrounded by as much speculation and deliberation as an early Bunuel
or Lynch film. Part of the fun, it seems, when approached by a film as difficult and turgid as Persona, is
theorizing and guessing at its intended meaning.
I shan't live under the pretense that I follow every gesture, every visual utterance and expression
Bergman has invested in his film, on the contrary, as I embarked on the films journey- on Bergmans
journey, I found myself amongst the impossibly speculative; the searchers of meaning ; those in dire
need, it seems, to justify the film to themselves- or themselves to the film, as it were.
And so, I shall put to rest here whatever desperate message I may have extracted from the film.

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Duality, I feel, is the key to the stubborn door of the film, once this is addressed in its entirety, other
seemingly abstract motifs, suddenly concur and become apparent. The characters of Alma and
Elizabeth, must be viewed as one being. Like a coin; Alma is tails or conscious one, Elizabeth; heads,
or conscious second. Neither can truly see the other for they face, like the coin, constantly outwards.
Their perceptions of the world are so alien to each other, that nothing can be truly shared in dialogue.
They merely exist as one. Elizabeth's silence is a byproduct of this hopeless realization – that truth can
never truly be obtained because as one, they stand in ther…


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