When I first saw Persona last year I wrote that it was the high watermark of mid-60s modernism. Seeing it this second time, I think it may just be the most effective “art film” (a phrase hard to define, yes) of all time. I came away this second time loving the film even more, although, oddly, I think I “understood” it on a linear level even less. But the images and sounds washed over me, putting me in a complete trance. Had the subtitles not been working, and I heard just the Swedish dialogue, it would have been fine. Also, that scenario would allow you more time to wonder with yourself who is more beautiful: Bibi Andersson or Liv Ullman. (Ullman, but it’s close.)
Jordan Hoffman is a New York-based writer and film critic working for The Guardian, Vanity Fair, Thrillist, Times of Israel, NY Daily News and elsewhere.
He is the host of ENGAGE: The Official Star Trek Podcast, a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and challenges you to a game of backgammon.