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Faculty Mentors

Dr. Alex Blazer

Abstract

In its extensive play with character and form, Bergman’s Persona becomes as difficult to analyze as an actual patient. Susan Sontag talks about how the viewer can only move toward but never achieve certainty about the action. Simply, it is about two women whose conflicting desires lead them to spend a cathartic summer at a seaside cottage. Critic John Simon describes the movie as a meditation on the numbers 1 and 2: it is about one splitting in two and two becoming one. The film is constantly attempting to balance, or at least justify, the existence of the disparities and paradoxes of life, many of which become embodied in Elisabet and Alma. Many critics have written on the opposing duality of female spectatorship, and I would argue that by reading the two women as active and passive gazes we can unlock the riddle of Ingmar Bergman’s poetic film.

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