Shortly after I saw Ingmar Bergman's Persona for the first time, I discovered the writings of R. D. Laing. Laing is a Scottish psychiatrist, blazingly humane, who is trying to understand (among other things) how madness becomes the sanity of the mad. A passage from his book The Divided Self might serve as epigraph for Persona:
The unrealness of perceptions and the falsity and meaninglessness of all activity are the necessary consequences of perception and activity being in the command of a false self—a system partially dissociated from the "true" self….
Bergman's film begins with an actress, young and successful, who has...
(The entire section is 586 words.)