Jonah Agus Persona's mise en scene I am analyzing the mise en scene for Ingmar Bergman's Persona. This 1966 film stars Bibi Andersson as Alma and Liv Ullmann as Elisabet Vogler.
The first scene in the segment I watched took place in Alma's bedroom. It is very dark with two doorways having light. Alma comes in through one door, gets a glass of water from the room through the other door, and then goes to sleep. As soon as Alma is asleep she begins to dream that Elisabet enters the room through the first door. Elisabet then stands over Alma's sleeping body and then moves to the bathroom where Alma had gotten the water. Elisabet then stands in the bathroom and "defiantly casts an angelic image" (Shary). Then as Elisabet walks towards Alma's bed, Alma rises and moves towards Elisabet. The two women meet and Alma puts her head on the dominating Elisabet.
The camera has no moved this whole time and the lighting has no changed making the viewer unsure if this is truly a dream or a real occurrence. Then the camera zooms in so all there is is a soft light on Alma and Elisabet. The two figures, now facing the same direction, are barely visible because of the low soft light. This confirmed to me that this scene was Alma's dream and that she felt warm and safe in Elisabet's arms. Then fade out to the next scene.
The scene opens with a long shot of Alma collecting shells while Elisabet pops up and takes a picture of the film camera with her camera. It is daytime and very bright out. Alma and Elisabet then approach each other and Alma shows off the shells she has collected. She then asks about her perceived encounter the night before not realizing that it was a dream for sure. While Alma asks this the camera going in for a close-up of Alma's face. And then a close-up of Elisabet's face when she gives a negative reaction to Alma's question. Alma then walks off into the distance, disappointed and confused.
We next see Elisabet sitting at the typewriter finishing up a letter. She is seated by a window but it is almost impossible to see outdoors because it is all white. Then we see a figure outside in the distance. The figure is Alma and she enters the house. She takes the letter along with some others to go mail and again leaves. Before Alma goes she rapps on the window from outside saying a last goodbye to Elisabet and as we find out, her absolute trust for Elisabet.
The last scene in the segment I watched consisted of Alma in the car driving to mail the letters. It is raining outside. Alma is photographed from a side view as so you can see her profile and look out her window and see the trees zoom past as she goes. Alma glances at the letters and sees that Elisabet's just finished letter has not been sealed. She turns back to the road. Then Alma picks up the letter and sees whom it is addressed to. It is to the doctor. Alma places the letter back down. Now there is a shot of the car bounding up towards the camera and then stopping at the camera. Alma coming to a conclusion about what to do. Alma puts on her reading glasses and begins to read Elisabet's letter and that is where we leave off.
Shary, Timothy M. An Analysis of Ingmar Bergman's Persona. Hampshire College 1988