Cinema: Accidie Becomes Electro

Persona. Director Ingmar Bergman is modern cinema's most persistent observer of the human condition. He examines the Eden that is Sweden and sees—much as Bruegel once did in Flanders—that the occupants are really having a Hell of a time. Persona, his 27th film, fuses two of Bergman's familiar obsessions: personal loneliness and the particular anguish of contemporary woman. It is the story of a great stage actress (Liv Ullman), suddenly become mute and detached while starring in a production of Electra. She is afflicted with what medieval theologians called accidie—a total indifference to...

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