Persona ★★

Yeah yeah yeah there are some good bits (every time it dives into formal abstraction, the beach-side sex monologue, Andersson and Ullmann are great, beautiful standalone images here and there) but it's really kind of a bore. Nihilistic cinema, we are completely lost in the void that is the world/the self, blah blah blah. So full of itself too.

One could say the earlier visuals in the hospital are silent inspired considering the use of silent film scenes (and its ostensible analysis of film itself as a medium) but even Griffith's compositions are miles ahead of this, anyone, then and now, in terms of complexity - this is theater, not cinema. The flat, stage-like compositions, the heavy reliance on dialogue instead of the camera or editing (except when it delves into abstraction). This isn't the way people talk, it's not natural. It could be an analysis of class and gender in a hyper-melodramatic sense as calamityhey posits but that conflicts with the purpose of melodrama - sensation, heightened emotionality. This is just a dull, self-serious thought experiment with some occasional moments of inspired craft. It's about the duality of the self, sure, but it concerns itself with abstraction and metaphor to the point that it can be about many things, anything, instead of being concrete, not obfuscating.

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