Ingmar Bergman Susan Sontag - Essay

Susan Sontag

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[The difficulty in understanding Persona is] that Bergman withholds the kind of clear signals for sorting out fantasies from reality offered, for example, by Buñuel in Belle de Jour. Buñuel puts in the clues; he wants the viewer to be able to decipher his film. The insufficiency of the clues Bergman has planted must be taken to indicate that he intends the film to remain partly encoded. The viewer can only move toward, but never achieve, certainty about the action…. One prime bit of evidence for this thesis is a sequence occurring soon after the two women arrive at the seaside. It's the sequence in which, after we have seen Elizabeth enter Alma's room and stand beside her and stroke her hair, we see...

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