Elisabeth Vogler, the successful theatre actress, one night suddenly stops talking while acting in Racine’s Phadre, and after a minute goes on with the play as if nothing happened. When a similar thing happens the next day at home, she is taken under treatment. She stays at the hospital for the long period of three months, but no spiritual or physical reason can be diagnosed for her disturbance. Her doctor, thinking she needs a rest, sends her to the seaside accompanied by a nurse. A close friendship soon flourished among the two women. Nurse Alma gets to interpret Elisabeth’s wishes and Elisabeth begins to transfer her wishes to Alma in writing. She also ask Alma to tell her story. The nurse, with no misgiving, sincerely opens up to Elisabeth and tells her that she became pregnant from a relation with a man and then an abortion. Elisabeth keeps listening to her and scrutinises. In order to reach the personality of someone who had opened her secrets to her, she takes off her mask (persona). Alma, in return is saved from her own self thanks to someone listening to her. However, this relation begins to wear both women down in the process. Then, upon the discovery by Alma of the letter Elisabeth has written to her doctor, which is full of her confessions, their relation comes to crisis. At the termination of the process, and in line with what Alma has previously and joking offered, they change their identities. This exchange provides a positive contribution to Elisabeth’s getting better, but it increases Alma’s loneliness. For Elisabeth, who goes back to her home and stage, what has been experienced is a purification. Alma is also aware that she has changed, but at the same time feels that what has been experienced will not effect her ordinary life in the least. Persona, meaning the mask of the player in classical theatre is an examination of how a person looks, how they seem to others, how they are in front of others, how they think they are and how they really are, what they want to be, and what they have become in spite of themselves. At the same time, it is a comparison between silence and words, masks and faces. It is a description of the realisation of self through interaction with an opposite an similar person, and a questioning of art.


Ingmar Bergman

Ingmar Bergman

Sven Nykvist

Ulla Ryghe

AB Svensk Filmindustri

Bibi Andersson
Gunnar Björnstrand
Liv Ullmann
Margaretha Krook

Lars Johan Werle

Best Film - Best Actress Guldbagge Awards
Best Film - Best Director - Best Actress National Society of film Critics USA

1st Festival on Wheels
13th Festival on Wheels
Haneke's CHOICE