Blesok no. 80-81, September-December, 2011

Transcendental convection of the Face in the movie Persona by Bergman

Nataša Sardžoska

Transcendental convection of the Face in the movie Persona by Bergman

Hermeneutics of the violent irruption of the Face in close-up

    If the dialectics of the Becoming that traces tranversely its epistemoligical
    Heideggerian process and that turns into cognition (a purely ontological process ) of the becoming as an infinite and cyclic transmission of contents between two persons – two bodies, two faces – should assume a visual performance, then, it would be surely Bergman the “contributor” to this discourse. Firstly because he used the cinematographic language as a tool of philosophical discharge and immanent reading of the multiple image (in his visual texts we have an image in layers, made of interstices) of this process of becoming. In Persona the entire game is being played throughout the face, the body: we face a person that is self-punishing to a muteness, that will then turn into marginal phenomenology when compared to the subliminal messages emerging from the sensual structure of the face. In Persona the denotation code of the muteness come from the microstructure of the image, so to say frontal of Elisabeth Vogler, “that while acting (…) closed herself in a very strange muteness (…). She wants to be not seem to be. This is the reason why she closed herself in this absolute muteness, and so so she feels no need to act, to perform herself different then what she basically is”.
[1] Thus after this act, Elisabeth is recovered in hosital and at the very beginning of the story we come to know the diagnosis of the doctor: “You follow a desperate dream and this is your agony. You want to be and you do not want to seem to be. Being in any moment self-conscious and vigilant. While in the same time you realise the abyss that separates what you are for the others and what you are for yourself and so this creates a sense of vertigo, a fear of being discovered, of finding yourself nude, without mask, brought at your final limits. (…) It is better to find shelter in the immobility, in the muteness, and so you avoid to lie, or shelter from life, so you don’t have to act, to show false face or make things you don’t want to”. Bergman does not give us the task to understand this muteness because he invites us to a higher level, or maybe different, ellipttical, to an irruptive disjunction where we explore at highest strength of the prolonged silencе, the void in the visual context.

    Everything starts with the decostruction of the antique theatrical mask of Electra (played by Elisabeth) into stripping of the layers of messages emitted by the digital fragmented face. In order to be the face has to take off the make up, the mask, has to be broken into pieces, implode, crash against its appearence: from its first image it has to enter into contact with other anatomic – formal and atomic – levels of its own entity. However, in order to be able to read this imagology in heterological way, I have to go back to the initial point of this text: why have I chosen the hermeneutics of the face dialectics?
    The visual text starts with a broken spectre, exuberant and ellipttical, condensed with images apparently related to the person embodied in Elisabeth. The screen turns into darkness obsessed with fast appearences of the Holocaust (the Jewish child in the Warsaw ghetto), of the war in Vietnam (think of the references to the Algerian war in Godard), which are not historical wrappings but a spatial evolution against which Elisabeth crashes in front of her TV. In their ultimate violence they indicate the visual power of the liminal tiny little line between physical and interior transformations. Given that Persona kicks off in total darkness, we could even think and understand this mute box of images, throughout the magic of editing, as a metaphor of the cinema. The notion comes from the idea of the reppresentation of the shape, of the human body because this act is connected to the human body both in a classical aesthetic dimension and in postmodern decomposition of its self. Going back to the hermeneutics of these images, which more than initial appear as images of initiation, we must underline the implicte violence contained in one person, and the person as violence per se. Having said that, I consider these images nothing else but an annunciation of the violent nucleus that vibrates in every body, especially in material sense, and alludes to the sensorial shade of the human body. In this moment I shall draw attention to one text by Sontag. The analogic connection of the visual consist in the passage from darkness to light, in the fatal illumination of the black holes in the screen, in their becoming speed flash, in the evidence of the erected phallus, of the sacrifice of the lamb, of the crussified Christ, of the dirty snow, in the image of child trying to grasp invane a vague and bleary image of a woman, in “the self-immolation”[2] of the Buddhist monk. Why all these images, passing on fast and then gradually slowing down, why do they bring to the disturbing idea that the child caressing the bleary and reflexive image of a child trying to touch a woman could be the image of Elisabeth’s child and of her-self? Bergman despite the often auto-referential approach to the human condition practice (the depiction of the madness for instance), in Persona neglects these notions and thinks of the pure transcendence of the body. Sontag is sceptical as regards the statement that the image of the child is the image of the Elisabeth’s son and the photo of child that Elisabeth is breaking apart is actually an allusion to the first image of the child. If I refer to Roland Barthes, then I would add that the punctum[3] here is not the drammatic, almost insane, relation between the mother and the son but the tactile and cognitive contact of one person, of the person per se: the child tabula rasa touches and so acknowledges in sensitive fashion the image, the face, the person. Sontag goes even beyond Bergman: the image of the ingenuous face of the child, “his image is something that we do not expect to know”.[4]

    Elisabeth decides not to talk in order to oppose herself to the hypocrisy of the theater of the world. Besides, she has decided to dedicate herself ravenously to the muteness for onthological reasons: she does not want to lie, she does not want to compromise herself, she does not want to be a mute body, she wants to be a person, a face of the mask-person focused on the deserted rooms and half-opened in their immanence. But the tramp is that her muteness – and her natural way of being mute - is considered as pathology, as madness. There is even a special care, a nurse that has been assigned to her, to take care of her mental health, and this person at one point becomes the Other Person, the other agent of the dialogue, Alma. In total coherence between the muteness and the external landscape, the Northern seaside, the split wall, the white shelves, the stone rocks and Nordic desert, in one house is where Alma explosion takes place, in some sort of verbal vomit, misteriously revealing her sexuality and the Elisabeth’s implosion that swallos the presence of the other and transforms into sadic creature.

Even the house is denotational indicating Elisabeth’s psychological state of mind because in their pale and fragile transparence reveals the void where she is plunged. But from the moment when all becoming (in terms of Martin Buber) is composed of reciprocal exchange, from the process of giving and taking, of towering above and being submited, of streaming and wiredrawing, Elisabeth even though mute, becomes Alma and viceversa. The fusion of the twо faces of the two mute bodies in the sequence: their faces do not con-flow one to another but their faces are hallucinating; their faces are being dissolved after the period of self-cognition. The confession of the latter is being incorporated in the other and the muteness of the first triggers histerical and logoreical movements.
    Beyond the appearаnce, their faces are confusing equally not only in front of the husband, who does not “see” well his wife Elisabeth but in the “conversation” as an explicit act of exchange. In fact he is only a marginal figure. The fact that he and Alma have had sex, the almost catatonic state of mind of Elisabeth and the schizofrenic state of mind of Alma, the dissociation of the human being nowadays are neither the central point, nor is the imagologic layout but the focus goes far beyond the image and the messages emerging from the image. “While Elisabeth maybe volontarily has renounced to be actress by the act of becoming mute, Alma involuntarily and painfully is trying to be Elisabeth Vogler, the perfomer, that does not exist anymore”.[5] Elsabeth’s husband does not see nor recognize who is his wife and basically Alma is the one that goes in bed with him in order to become Elisabeth.
    Susan Sontag even more strongly then Bergman himself, claims that we should see the movie Persona despite the first image and the linear and mono-dimensional vision of the contact between Alma and Elisabeth; in fact, on one hand, the figure of Elisabeth is corrupted, even though she wants to be an authentic person, and on the other hand, Alma is the figure “the ingenous soul that enters into touch with the corruption.”[6] When Elisabeth lights a cigarette, her face transforms into a spasmodic and sadic shape of egoism; even when she walks footless on pieces of glass broken by Alma, Elisabeth maintains the shape that cannot be easily corrupted from inside nor from outside. However, her muteness remains an implict form of the nonce even when Elisabeth is being threatened by Alma and screams simply: “No”. But that: “No!”, that bends her face, does not tell us anything about her lust for life. On the contrary.
    A part from this, their merger was interpreted by gender studies like a homosexual approach to human nature and cruel reppresentation of the human vampirism stressed out by Sontag like an act of ”horror and fear from the dissolution of the personality”[7]: Elisabeth kisses greedily Alma’s neck and in the following moment Alma is sucking Elisabeth’s blood dry. Sontag actually treats in a phenomenologic fashion this vampiristic exchange of body liquids, vital just as it was a horror movie. As Steve Vineberg puts it: “the role of Elisabeth is sucking Alma”[8] and so Bergman plays in first close-up the image of Elisabeth sucking Alma’s neck, and Alma even after the total discolosure does not manage to free herself from the other image of her: Elisabeth’s. Moreover, it seems that only in that vampirism Bergman detects, in a nutshell, the metaphor of human violence. But here metaphor is not a figure, a simple retoric, a trope but a phenomen of implosion of meanings. This is the reason why the dialectics between Elisabeth and Alma assums even sexual connotation, in order to be able, absurdly frigide and a-sexual, to show us that this violence is a virus: it gets multiplied.

    The phenomenology, the visual dialectics appears double: intra and inter - personal. These women exchange their natures, their bodies and their facial expressions. The violence does not undergone the initiation but is an immanent capacity of the face to spread over the image even beyond the visual frame of the frame. We see what Alma is seeing yet we don’t know if it is authentic or is evolving in the hallucinating process where the ontological dialectics is being wraped. This vision is multiple and stands in layers: we do not see what is draged out as a subliminal text but what appears on the surface. Then everything gains form of a scratched mirror where we cannot see our face nor we can project an introspection but we only percieve a black void: small holes as wrappers of the cognitive process of the spectator.

    On the the body-scape, we witness the Deleuze’s micro-sheets, immobile surfaces exploding on the her skin, mixed with allusions to fog, anger, shadows and lights, pallor, to the obsolete obsenity and sadism. We see how everything is getting reduced on the level of the face and the entire dialectics evolves between the Alma’s and Elisabeth’s faces, in between their spasmodic expressions of various feelings and personal abyses. Some awkward interior spaces are emerging on the surface of the epidermis of the face, which we have seen before as a mask (the Electra’s mask) or as an easyness (the nurse’s one). However all this turns into an exuberant nucleus of shattering stories and of overflowing truths of the soul. On the wide horizon, shapes stuffed with muteness are being devastated. The abstract cells expand into nullity: and it is exactly where Bergman is realising the Lévinas (or Bergson) perspective, where the problem of ontologcal becoming is a path, a dialogic path between “I” and “You”. If we put it like Deleuze, then we refer to the Peirce’s trichomy where the primacy, or the immanence, the essence, is getting realised in the second level, that is to say the action, the Other: the I does not talk and does not talk neither the image. The mute I is being realised, diffonded and implosed in the Other, whose image screams, for it has been broken, exploded on the edge of the spatial dwelling of the body.
    This dialectics emerging from the landscape of the silence of the sea, represents the authentic choice of the person to leave the mask to plunge into the water, or to implode. The plausible psychanalitic code is the following: I don’t talk becasue I don’t lie. The shifting of the theatrical schizofrenia, or the multitude of faces, of the face contracted for pain and disappointment, to the total void of the Swedish beach is more then appealing. The broken rocks, the shattered waves vis à vis the broken glass, the fragmented bodies are all images governed by the devastating muteness. The face, which would be the transfiguration in aesentia of the body becomes a white platform, a sheet on which we read, see, feel the total immersion of the interior pulsation expressed by all these mute movements that turn into image-motion.

    The face is the expressive tool used by Bergman. He puts it in the close-up as it was a canvas made of micro-particells moved by movements that escape the human control. He proposes purity, nullity and allegoric pallor of the face to the spectator, and all those interior shouts, the interstices of the skin and the mouth, and invites him to see beyond the masked face of Electra, the twisted muteness of Elisabeth. Beyond the sadic muteness shown in the face of Elisabeth, the cognition of the vulnerability of Alma, and beyond all this, the mute and cruel intolerance of the world: the child with glasses that invane tries to grasp the image, the Image of the intimate, of the invisible, of the Other. Here, the structure outbreaks in various points that merge in this micro-phenomenology of the face: the child therefore does not offer himself as a figure of a son but as an allegory of the muteness, of the fragile perception of the world and the pertinent ingenuousness.
    At one certain moment, the dialogue between the two persons, the vaste focalization shifts from the close-up with the Elisabeth’s face to the long-take with Alma but in a pretty fast manner; what we see are only two images in two different movements and the margine of the vision, as a voluntary act, is getting blocked in this double movement of the image, where the elements interact between themselfs. The advantage proposed by the visual element, is, actually, the possibility to see throughout one eye, throughout the perspective different than the one immanent to the physiology of the eye. That is to say, to see things not as they are or not as they seem to be. Which is then Elisabeth’s face and which is Alma’s? Which face is evident? And how can we grasp the hereafter of the appearence?

    Jean Luc Nancy refers to the French verb “évider”[9], indicating the action of hollowing out, of render something empty from within; we detract from this concept the state of emptiness emerged from the evidence, from the transversal transparence of the space beyond the image, which is basically a “deferred”[10] image, where the void becomes a nucleus which is not equal to the void in terms of nullity, but is equal to the dense transcendental content. This propagation of the face in the close-up could be defined as implicite violence of the image being a stamp, bursting into the visual frame of the spectator. In fact what should be seen is not the face per se, but the landscape, the platform of the neutral yet violent spatial transformations. According to Nancy, the violence of the image should not be by default evident but per tacite consensus should appear invisible, intouchable and this is located in the innocent sea landscape, in the virgin rocks, in the female faces without make-up, without the regular cineastic pose and in the pale home-space. At the very beginning of the movie, right after the flashes of images, Bergman informs: this movie speaks about the violence. But how? “Like when we move from one embraced couple to a machine gun shooting fire”.[11] And you see this violence is mutual.
    Let’s go back to Sontag and put it like she does: Persona is a movie about the “violence of the spirit”, about the cruelty of the interpersonal communication: “if the two women have violented one each other reciprocally, we could say that each one has violented herself”.[12] And all takes us back to the violence of the images that appeared at the beginning of the movie, just like series, like a chain of shattering images. We have to deal however with the double message of Elisabeth’s face, that is offered to us in all that pale transparence and evidence without giving us the possibility to read it as a critical pattern because she does not comunicates - Elisabeth is not giving herself as generously as Alma – but also because she is nothing more and nothing less then a closed body (a text?), that only sometimes reflects sentimentality. This face where the person converges is a hermetic code because its evidence is the one that goes far beyond the interpretation tools, because its language is pure, not-empiric, almost inviolable.

Ascetic nudity: the science of the face

Each “sense”is one “world”, i.e.
    is absoluteley non-communicable with the other senses,
    and neverheless it creates something, that for its structure,
    ends up immediately in the world of the other senses and so forms one unique Being.
    The sensorial, i.e. a color, the yellow, is getting through per se:
    as soon as it turns into a color of illumination, a color which is dominant in the visual field, then it stops being the color that was before,
    and contains therefore per se an ontologic function, and is able to represent every single thing
     (like the carvings…)

    In the Cahiers du cinéma Bergman writes: “Our job starts with the human face. The possibility to get closer to the human face consists in the uttmost and distintctive originality of the cinema” (1959). What Bergman does is nothing else but a creation of different fixed points that he is using to reduce, to deduct the image, or even to expand it at the point where each linear or uni-dimensional percеpetion would be impossible. The nudity of the face, to what he aspires, is shattering almost terrifying: it is their implicite power, its ascetic desert, the vulnerability rendered an ultra-open retina focused towards the spectator’s gaze. The operation undertaken by Bergman in this context of the nudity, of the ascetism of the face arrives at the “(…) extreme point of the image-affection, burns the icon, consumes and switches off the face”.[14] The image in close-up acts on the second image and makes an impact in the section of the micro-impulses. And it is exactly this image that is getting blocked in the immanence of the light.
    “There is no close-up of the face. The close-up is the face itself, but it is exactly the face which was unknited from its triple function. The nudity of the face is more flagrant then the one of the bodies. The kiss is already an evidence of the integral nudity of the face, and it inspires the micro-movements hidden by the rest of the body.”[15] As Deleuze puts it, on the face, on this living canvas are being projected the interior processes of the body in one somewhat rarefied motorics of the senses; Alma and Elisabeth’s faces are resemble each other in the contracted existence, no matter how distant they are. The discourse in Persona is focused in the appearence of the essence and it is exactly there where their sado-masochism becomes alive: in the dialectics of faces, in the faces break-up, in the faces sucking up, as Deleuze puts it: “the face is a vampire” and “with the recourse to the close-up the face becomes “a phantom (…) abbandoned to other phantoms”[16].
    Why the movie director puts the utter accent on the close-up of the face as it was a living canvas on which messages, colors, lines, movements, contractions are waiting to be impressed? Because maybe only that way we are obliged to accept the abyss of the skin, the nerve and the sensitive particles that are composing the human face. Тhis is how we locate the role of the person in relation to the alterity and in the same time to itself; perhaps this is how we recognise who Elisabeth is in Alma and who Alma is in Elisabeth and only in this recognition we grasp the distance, the removal and the absence of physical traits of the face. As I underlined before, “the close-up does not split into two the individual, but unifies both into one: suspends the spotting and the differential. And so the unique and devastated face unifies one part of the first to another part of the latter. It assorbs two human beings, and it assorbs them into the void”. [17]

    Now, going back to our first discourse on the becoming, we should refer however to the ascetism, the idea of the spiritual practice of void, of the inner void where the being is obliged or compelled in a way to burst into pieces in order to becom a being, in order to be. But this void is not a non-thing, it is not a nullity: it is an expansion; it represents the ability of the being to shelter and to accommodate the other. On one side, Elisabeth is violented by the exuberant Alma’s verbal perversion and, on the other, Alma is crashing against the mutism, Elisabeth’s violent nudity. Their exchange is absurde: they vomit their essences from the existential void and into the spatial void in order to face another void, another lesion. Notwithstanding, the torment continues: their entities will reach a climax, after which none of them is not the same woman as it used to be before. Having exchanged their essences, inductivly their faces have assumed traits from each other, and those traits are traits of fear, anguish and anxiety. The concern raised by Bergman is that we do not know if the therapy has worked? have these two women has relieved themselfs from the existential contractions or they have wrecked in other spaces which they themselfs dig in their own personalities?
    The language Bergman is talking to us is the Brecht’s, the Kafka’s, Beckett’s or Camus’s one: it is the poetics of the ontological void, with which Bergman constructs his cinematographic language. He is pushing the being to their final boundaries in order to question it, to put it on fire, to investigate it, to unmask it and at least to undress it and reduce it to its extreme spirituality.
    The removal of the mask is the evidence of this action.

    In the antique theaters by the term persona people intended the mask the actors used to perform, whilst in Bergman this symbolic process goes viceversa: the real persona is the one that takes away their mask, in all transversal personal, political and global meanings, the one that give themselfs away. From this point emerges the interpersonal non-communicability, the human alienation. “Bergman has pushed far away the nichilism of the face, or its fearful relation with the void or the absence, the fear of the face in front of its nothingness”.[18]
    As regards the problematics of the affection expressed in the face, it somehow is being separated from the body and the characteristics of the person, and is in a way impersonal because Alma and Elisabeth at one certain point will lose their personal traits and will merge, will become one accross the other, and one into the other. This is the reason why the face, the living canvas is exploding in the close-up, is breaking through the margins, the limits of the long-take, of the frame imposed by the image, by the visual itself.
    In the duality between Alma and Elisabeth, Deleuze glimpses a reflexive process of effort versus resistance, of excitement versus answer: one woman is behaving through the other, one woman is gaining knowledge of what she is thanks to the other, or even maybe because the other is guilty. Even though Deleuze is not arguing directly Persona, he establishes the basis of the idea I argue in this text, that is to say the concept of the fusion, the inter-personal fusion in the visual text: “one person abbandons and renonces the social role; cannot and does not want to communicate, hits herself with almost absolute muteness; loses the personal individuation at the point where she has to assume a strange similarity with the other because of a failure or an absence”.[19]

    Deleuze following the Peirce semiotics, is proposing a chart with binar values: he is puting the affection on the line of the power expressed by the skin, of the surface of the face, while he glimpses the entity as pure quality of the essence in depth of the person represented in the face in question. According to this interpretation “the intensive face expresses a pure strength”, an inner contraction that could be a libidinal pulsation or a nevrotic disorder, while “the reflexive face expresses a pure quality[20],

is a metaphisical and metapsychical fluxus that wiredraws through the face of one person. In this context, the face is a canvas, a fixed space, it becomes a cold, frozen space, or as Deleuze puts it “receptive immobile surface”, a sheet where all “micro movements” are flowing down as they are the pure transparent and intuitive visualisation of that process taking place inside the body, caused by the “sensitive nerves”, which is a consequence of the “motorical tendence” of the body. Regarding the paradigm “receptive immobile surface” we recognize there all phenomena relating the “expression of a quality of several different things” (e.g. astonishment, feeling cold…), while the paradigm “micro-movements” is denotated by a serie of intense emotions (love, hate), also called “potencies”, an “expression of one power that passed on from one quality to another”.[21]
    What does this mean? Basically, we are in front of two phenomenon: the face and the meta-face. All our perception is confronted with the “receptive immobile surface” that reflects the implicite “potency”, immanent in terms of contents, or even better nucleus of our entity. But this reflexion does not occur on the basis of the principle of the mirror but on the basis of the principle of the motorical-sensorial exchange. For this reason Deleuze draws attention to Bergman, exactly in the chapter “image-affection” because in the close-up of the face, as “immobile nervouse surface”, the interstice and minute movements of the nervs are taking place. These nervs are evident impulses, interior actions and reactions, carnal vibrations. The face exalts all the anatomy and the patology of the body of one person. The face is like a window that shows the soul, some say; but beyond this poetics of the face, Deleuze says that the face “has sacrificed the essential of its inner mobility”, that is to say has ceased to perform the basic function of the face as integral part of the body, in order to become a “nervous surface carrying-organs” that could perhaps reflect the big processes of the physical and the chimical incorporation, or even better the alchemical turbulences occuring in the bodily frame of the soul.
    At last we could consider this con-fusion of the faces as a wrapped stratum containing the discourse of the double personality or of the question who was and who is Alma?

And who was and who is Elisabeth? With this we have upraised the concern of the inter-personal invisible communication, the physio-architectures of both bodies and the alienation of one person in the space. Alma and Elisabeth “do not confond between themselfs because they look alike” (or perhaps because they do not look alike) “but because they have lost not only the spotting but the socialization and the communication”[22]. As Deleuze puts it, actually it is the close-up operation that has the task not to undouble the face of the individual, not to unify the two faces but to “suspend”, to abstract the ”spotting”, to remove the typical traits, the facial lines and to show in which way the face is drowning into the ontological void and then comes out squirted into the space of the intimate dwelling.
    And why so the face? The meaning of the face enacts architectures of silent communication and void, for the close-up becomes a paradigme, a fotogramme which has lost all other links to the rest of the body and the space “in order to rise up the pure affection”.[23] The face absorbs the explosions and gaves away the subcutaneous implosions. It shows up as a part of a body, of one totality but also as a totality per se, an architecture of all bodily segments, in one spatial sequence. It remains isolated in order to become an epistemological surface in terms of Bergson, that Deleuze interprets as “nervouse surface”, on which various “micro-movements” circulate, disturbing each other reciprocally. On this surface the impersonality of the affection becomes “potency – quality”. Only that way the face disrupts the sequence by puting in motion or in pose all internal impulses, implicite to the affection and by opening itself to the spectator it becomes a paradigme of the loneliness.
     “The expression of the face and the meaning of such expression, do not have any relation or link to the space”[24] that was weaving around it before the face was put in close-up. Deleuze glimpses in this extrapolation of the face, a trans-operation, which consist in isolating and cuting off the head from the body; isolating and spotting the face as an unique testimonial of the ”pure affection”, of the nude and armless disclosure of the content of the flash. As consequence, the iconicity of the face is getting extended to the level where the face becomes the space of the flesh. The zero level of the interpretation of the face is dilated. The body “governed by laws which it ignores”, is taken away from the person per se “in a walk path parallel to the one of the conscience. In the flesh-in-making, it reverses the subconscious, a palimpsest that tells and in the same time gives an access to the invisible, to what is hidden in the limits imposed by the subject when building up the personality”.[25]

    The meaning of the person in question is moving towards spaces that the person does not know. The person feels and percieves this movement as the edge of the abyss where this person tend to fall. The home is void, a pale incommunicable space, without mercy. In Bergman this is the invisibility of the violence. The terror, as Jean Luc Nancy puts it, is the what we do not see: the ontological void. More then a convergence of the external explosive movement and the internal micro implosion of the person, we see an indice of one patology, of one psychosis. Of one “disease to death” to quote Heidegger: the two women plunge into the deserted landscape as if they plunge into their dark chambers, into their existential void, the Sartre’s one. They are removed from the architecture of the world to face the person in the void and to know, or to heal, this void in their personalities, to play a sort of “psycho-dramma”, to assume the role of the other, and to hate each other as ultimate expression of the flesh. This is an ex-tempore movement that gives us this feeling of the removal, which is a pluri-dimensional removal: the removal from oneself, from the Other, from Here in order to be another, alone, elsewhere, in a non-space. This motion is thus “not the shifting or the translation, it is on the contrary what takes place when the body is in the situation or in the state of mind to find its own place and therefore to lose it or not to have it anymore. I am drifted (materialy or mentaly) when I am not – ontologically – in the place where I am – localy.”[26]
    This process where the visible, even though in close-up, just as like the face and the physical motions, becomes a distant, a frozen notion and surpasses each and every idea of apparent sublimation of light against shadow, (or per shape or per transformation) is perfectly elaborated by Merlo-Ponty: “the visible stops being an inaccessible if I conceive it not according to the proximal thought, but as an englobing, lateral investment, a flesh”[27]. Besides this, I beleive the process of the qualitative sublimation of the face put in the close-up in Persona is a convection: the faces drifts away and transmits processes that remain invisible, inaccessible and transcendental to the cognition but are accessible however if we approach that space through the immanent carnality.

BARTHES, Roland, La Chambre claire: note sur la photographie, Gallimard, Paris, 1980;
DELEUZE, Gilles, L’immagine-movimento, Ubulibri, Milano 2000;
FEDRIZZI, Maria Rita, Dopo la prova. Il superamento della scissione tra forma e vita, in DE GIUSTI, Luciano (a cura di), L’opera multiforme di Bergman, Il Castoro, Milano 2005;
MERLEAU-PONTY, Maurice, Il visibile e l’invisibile,Bompiani, Milano 2003
NANCY, Jean Luc / KIEROSTAMI, Abbas, L’evidenza del film, Donzelli, Roma 2004;
SONTAG, Susan, Bergman’s Persona, in MICHAELS, Lloyd,, Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, Cambridge University press, 2000;
VINEBERG, Steve, Persona and the seduction of performance, in MICHAELS, Lloyd,, Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, Cambridge University press, 2000;
TRASATTI, Sergio, Ingmar Bergman, La nuova Italia, Firenze 1992.

Nataša Sardžoska is PhD Candidate at Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen - Sorbonne Nouvelle Université Paris 3 - Università degli Studi di Bergamo


1. TRASATTI, Sergio, Ingmar Bergman, La nuova Italia, Firenze 1992. p. 84 che mentre recitava (…) si è chiusa in uno strano mutismo (…) Ella vuole essere, non sembrare di essere. Per questo si è chiusa in un mutismo assoluto, così non ha bisogno di recitare, di mostrarsi diversa da quello che è.
2. This is an expression referring to self-immolation for religious or political reasons.
3. The book La chamber claire by Roland Barthes develops the twin concepts of studium and punctum: studium denoting the cultural, linguistic, and political interpretation of a photograph, punctum denoting the wounding, personally touching detail which establishes a direct relationship with the object or person within it.
4. SONTAG, Susan, Bergman’s Persona, in MICHAELS, Lloyd,, Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, Cambridge University press, 2000. pag. 75
5. Idem, p. 66
6. Idem, p. 73
7. Idem, p. 80
8. VINEBERG, Steve, Persona and the seduction of performance, in MICHAELS, Lloyd,, Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, Cambridge University press, 2000. p. 128
9. На англиски јазик значи: да испразниш нешто со внатрешно дување или притисок, да ослободиш од притисок.
10. NANCY, Jean Luc / KIEROSTAMI, Abbas, L’evidenza del film, Donzelli, Roma 2004. p. 102
11. Idem, p. 100. Ori.: “Come quando si passa da una coppia che si abbraccia a una mitragliatrice che sta per fare fuoco.”
12. SONTAG, Susan, Bergman’s Persona, in MICHAELS, Lloyd,, Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, Cambridge University press, 2000. p. 80.
13. MERLEAU-PONTY, Maurice, Il visibile e l’invisibile, Bompiani, Milano 2003 p. 231. Ogni “senso” è un “mondo” i.e. / assolutamente incomunicabile per gli altri sensi, / e nondimeno costruisce un qualcosa che, per la sua struttura, / sbocca immediatamente nel mondo degli altri sensi e forma con essi un sol Essere. / La sensorialità: p.e. un colore, il giallo; esso si supera da sé: / non appena diviene colore d’illuminazione, colore dominante del campo, / cessa di esere il tale colore, / ha dunque di per sé funzione ontologica, diviene idoneo a rappresentare tutte le cose / (come le incisioni).
14. DELEUZE, Gilles, L’immagine-movimento, Ubulibri, Milano 2000 p. 123
15. Idem, p.122. Il primo piano è il volto, ma appunto il volto in quanto si è disfatto dalla sua triplice funzione. Nudità del volto più grande di quella dei corpi, inumanità più grande di quella degli animali. Il bacio è già testimonianza della nudità integrale del volto, e gl’ispira i micro-movimenti che il resto del corpo nasconde.
16. Idem, 122. “un fantasma (…) abbandonato ai fantasmi”.
17. Idem, p.123. “il primo piano non sdoppia un individuo, non più di quanto ne riunisca due: sospende l’individuazione e la differenzialità. Allora il volto unico e sconvolto unisce una parte dell’uno a una parte dell’altro. (…) Assorbe due esseri, e li assorbe nel vuoto”.
18. Idem, p.123. “Bergman ha spinto il più lontano possibilie il nichilismo del volto, cioè il suo rapporto nella paura con il vuoto o l’assenza, la paura del volto di fronte al proprio nulla.”
19. Idem, p. 122. “… una persona abbandona e rinuncia al ruolo sociale; non può e non vuole più communicare, colpisce se stessa di un mutismo quasi assoluto; perde la propria individuazione al punto di assumere una strana somiglianza con l’altro per difetto o per assenza.”
20. Idem, p.112-113. “il volto intensivo esprime una Potenza pura”, “il volto riflessivo esprime una qualità pura”.
21. Idem, p. 113. “espressione di una qualità comune a parecchie cose differenti” (stupore, freddo…)”; “espressioni di una potenza che passa da una qualità all’altra”.
22. Idem, p. 123. “non si confondono perché si assomigliano” ;“ma perché hanno perduto non solo l’individuazione bensì anche la socializzazione e la comunicazione”.
23. Idem, p. 119. “per far sorgere l’affetto puro”
24. BALÁZS, Il film, Einaudi; p. 70 DELEUZE, Gilles, L’immagine-movimento, Ubulibri, Milano 2000. “L’espressione del volto e il significato di tale espressione non hanno alcun rapporto o legame con lo spazio”.
25. FEDRIZZI, Maria Rita, Dopo la prova. Il superamento della scissione tra forma e vita, in DE GIUSTI, Luciano (a cura di), L’opera multiforme di Bergman, Il Castoro, Milano 2005 p. 192. “in un percorrere una via (…) paralella a quella della coscienza; in un farsi della carne (…) scarica l’inconscio, palinsesto che racconta e nello stesso tempo dà accesso all’invisibile, a ciò che si cela dietro i limiti che il soggetto s’impone (…) costruendosi una personalità”.
26. NANCY, Jean Luc / KIEROSTAMI, Abbas, L’evidenza del film, Donzelli, Roma 2004 . p. 19. “non è lo spostamento o la traslazione, esso è al contrario ciò che ha luogo quando un corpo è nella situazione o nello stato di dover trovare suo posto e pertanto di non averne o di non averne più. Io mi sposto (materialmente o mentalmente) quando non sono – ontologicamente – là dove sono – localmente.”
27. MERLEAU-PONTY, Maurice, Il visibile e l’invisibile,Bompiani, Milano 2003 p. 231. “il visibile cessa di essere un inaccessibile se io lo concepisco non già secondo il pensiero prossimale, ma come inglobante, investimento laterale, carne”.

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