Here is a segment of the movie,
which is entirely available (divided in parts) throught YouTube. In it, the Nurse (Bibi Andersson), reads a letter from the Patient (Liv Ullman) who is waiting at a summer house. Watch the segment at least until the 5th minute, since after reading the letter, she enacts a little vengeance, carried out by Bergman in a very thrilling way.
I could live like this forever.
Silent, living a secluded life,
reducing my needs
feeling my battered soul
finally starting to smooth itself out.
Alma takes care of me,
spoils me in the most touching way.
I believe that she likes it here
and that she’s very fond of me,
perhaps even in love,
in an unaware and enchanting way.
In any case
it’s very interesting studying her.
Sometimes she cries
over past sins–
an orgy with a strange boy
and a subsequent abortion.
She claims that her perceptions
do not correspond with her actions.
Useless to say that the merging of the two characters is compelling in the movie: the Patient studies the Nurse as the latter tries to alleviate the former’s depression. The Patient’s silence is perhaps one of the deepest motifs of the movie and it is sort of meditated about in the letter itself.
Part 5 comes just after Part 4, in which a hardcore description of sex comes from Bibi Andersson, and think: it was the sixties!
A note: At first, Bergman wanted to name the film A Bit of Cinematography.
- Distant Relatives: Persona and Mulholland Drive (thefilmexperience.net)