To quote Jesse Kalin: “Bergman’s subject is not being as such, but the moral world – ourselves as human beings in the twentieth century; what is deepest and most true and essential about us , and what meaning we can find for our lives in the face of the truth..” (.The Films of Ingmar Bergman, Page 1) The existential struggle becomes acute in women as their loneliness is deeper in a male dominated society. How do these women communicate with each other in this world of loneliness? The denial of both sexual pleasure as well as the maternal bliss makes their quest for themselves much more frustrating. Persona (1966) and Cries and Whispers (1972) are two great works of this master that form wonderful examples for psychodrama of the modern life as well as for Meta cinema or self reflexive cinema.
In Persona it is a speechless woman who confronts an over speaking woman, who essentially speaks of her dilemmas, which strangely confirms to the dilemmas of the listening silent woman. The film opens with a pre-title sequence of a bewildering Freudian montage of seemingly unrelated images, indicating that it is dealing with dark contradictions and never matching opposites. Of the images in the opening montage, the image of the cinematic projection apparatus with the carbon arc of a projector is repeated in the end of the film as well.
.Elisabeth Volger (portrayed brilliantly by Liv Ullman ) is a noted stage actress , who is thirty plus of age and who loses her speech mysteriously in the middle of a performance while she was acting as Electra, the Greek mythological character .After staying in the hospital for a brief period , she is removed to a sea side cottage for psychiatric observation. She comes under the care of a private nurse named Alma (Bibi Anderson ).The nurse opens herself up to the patient and tells her all her frustrations as well as her hopes and dreams. She talks