“Persona” – Nathan’s Movie Challenge, Week 6
“My words mean nothing to you. People like you can’t be reached.”
Ok, I get it. It’s capital-A “Art”. It’s deliberately esoteric. It’s unresolved, and allows for multiple interpretations.
The problem is, I’m not impressed enough to care.
Yes, the framing is artful. Yes, the use of black and white is strong. That doesn’t change the fact that I’m bored. It’s not because I can’t appreciate “highbrow” film, or that I’m ignorant of what it’s trying to achieve. It’s that I can’t really bring myself to stay interested in the story because it’s so inconsequential. I’m especially not interested because of what director Ingmar Bergman’s obviously doing with his movie.
The movie’s themes and messages seem pretty transparent to me; It’s Bergman himself throwing a cinematic hissy-fit. An auteur’s tantrum – if you will.
It’s Bergman saying, metaphorically, “I can’t comment in any acceptable capacity through my ‘art’ on the atrocities of the real world, so I’d just rather not do it at all.” Instead, he makes an unnecessary art film basically whining about this problem.
It’s Bergman wishing he could “abort” his previous films that he’s no longer happy with, but they’re already living in the world.
It’s just a self-indulgent mope fest disguised behind pretty framing. Super disappointing.
Bergman is quoted as saying,
“…for the first time I did not care in the least whether the result would be a commercial success.”
It’s painfully obvious. I wish you’d just complained to a critic, or your mother, or perhaps no one at all, instead of making this movie.
Persona was at the time of this review at #15 on my Flickchart list of shame (ranked #67 among the best movies of all time). Here’s how it entered my chart:
Persona vs. Pan’s Labyrinth
Pan’s for sure. There’s a ton of reasons, and you dear reader likely know them all.
Persona vs. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
It’s a romantic comedy that’s both romantic and funny. It’s actually a pretty good one. It beats Persona.
Persona vs. Beavis and Butt-Head Do America
Yes. Beavis and Butthead are going to win. Ridiculous? Not as ridiculous as Bergman.
Persona vs. Fortress
This is actually a pretty decent B-sci fi prison film with Highlander’s Chris Lambert. Certainly more worth my time than Persona.
Persona vs. Club Dread
It’s definitely no Super Troopers, but there are a few laughs scattered throughout Broken Lizard’s slasher film.
Persona vs. Just Like Heaven
It’s a sort of paranormal rom-com. I like Reese and Ruffalo. I can dig it over Persona.
Persona vs. Brazil
So those that know me know I’m no fan of Brazil. I’d still rather watch Brazil again then ever bother with Persona.
Persona vs. Phone Booth
I have a lot of problems with Phone Booth, but even more problems with Persona.
Persona vs. Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
All right, all right. Persona’s not THAT bad. It can win this one.
Persona vs. Breathless
Another art film that did nothing for me, and is completely undeserving of its hype. Persona is better than Breathless – but not by much.
Persona vs. MacGruber
Yeah, MacGruber is god-awful. Persona wins.
Persona is now ranked #1366 out of 1369 movies on my Best Movies of All-Time chart.
It’s now my least favorite – pretty much of everything.
Up for next week are After Hours, Once Upon a Time in the West, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. You might like to see what other films I’ve ranked higher than this one during the challenge .