Synopsis: A young nurse, Alma, is put in charge of Elisabeth Vogler: an actress who is seemingly healthy in all respects, but will not talk. As they spend time together, Alma speaks to Elisabeth constantly, never receiving any answer. Alma eventually confesses her secrets to a seemingly sympathetic Elisabeth and finds that her own personality is being submerged into Elisabeth's persona.
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Director(s): Ingmar Bergman
Production: Criterion Collection
  Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 6 wins & 3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
83 min

- You wanted to see me, Doctor?

- Have you seen Mrs Vogler, Sister?

- No, not yet.

- Then I'll fill you in...

...and give you the reasons

why you're to care for her.

Mrs Vogler is an actress, as you know,

and was performing in Electra.

In the middle of the play she fell silent

and looked around as if in surprise.

She remained quiet for a minute.

Afterwards she excused herself by

saying she was overcome by laughter.

The next day the theatre rang and

asked if she'd forgotten her rehearsal.

When the housekeeper went in

she was still in bed.

She was awake but didn't

answer questions and didn't move.

She's been like this for three months

and been given every conceivable test.

The result is clear. She's perfectly

healthy, both mentally and physically.

It's not even a question

of some kind of hysterical reaction.

Any questions, Sister Alma?

No? Then you can go in to Mrs Vogler.

Good day, Mrs Vogler.

My name is Sister Alma.

I've been employed

to look after you for a while.

Perhaps I should tell you about myself.

I'm 25, engaged...

I got my nursing certificate

two years ago.

My parents have a farm. My mother

was also a nurse before she married.

I'll fetch the dinner tray.

It's fried liver and fruit salad.

It looks really good.

Do you want to raise your head?

Is it okay like that?

Sister Alma.

What's your first impression?

I don't know what to say, Doctor.

First her face looks soft, almost

childish. Then you see her eyes...

She's got such a severe look, I think.

- I don't know, I should...

- What were you thinking?

- I thought I should refuse the job.

- Did something frighten you?

No, but she should have a nurse

who's older and more experienced.

- Experienced in life. I may not cope.

- Cope?


If Mrs Vogler's silence and immobility

is the result of a decision... must be as she's seen as healthy.

- Well?

It's a decision that shows great mental

strength. Perhaps I'm not up to it.

You might like to see the dusk,

Mrs Vogler. I can draw them later.

Shall I turn on the radio?

There's a play, I think.

Forgive me, my darling.

Oh, you must forgive me.

I don't desire anything other

than your forgiveness.

What are you laughing at, Mrs Vogler?

Is it the actress that's funny?

What do you know about compassion?

What do you know?

What do you know about compassion?

I don't understand things like that,

Mrs Vogler.

I'm interested in film and theatre,

but I go so seldom.

I have enormous admiration

for artists.

I think art

has an enormous importance in life.

Especially for people

who have problems of some kind.

I shouldn't talk to you about things

like that. I'm skating on thin ice.

I'll see if I can find some music.

Is that good?

Good night, Mrs Vogler. Sleep well.


It's strange.

You go around almost any old how.

Do almost any old thing.

I'll marry Karl-Henrik and we'll

have a few children that I'll raise.

All that is decided. It's inside of me.

It's nothing to ponder over.

It's a huge feeling of security.

Then I have a job that I like

and am happy with.

That's good too. But in another way.

But it's good... good.

It's good.

I wonder what's really wrong with her?

Elisabet Vogler...


Would you like me to open the letter,

Mrs Vogler?

Shall I read it?

Shall I read it to you?

Dear Elisabet:
As I'm not allowed

to see you, I'm writing.

If you don't want to read my letter,

you can ignore it.

I can't help seeking

this contact with you -

- as I'm tormented

by a constant question:

Have I harmed you in some way?

Have I hurt you without knowing?

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Ingmar Bergman

Ernst Ingmar Bergman (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈɪŋmar ˈbærjman] ( listen); 14 July 1918 – 30 July 2007) was a Swedish director, writer, and producer who worked in film, television, theatre and radio. Considered to be among the most accomplished and influential filmmakers of all time, Bergman's renowned works include Smiles of a Summer Night (1955), The Seventh Seal (1957), Wild Strawberries (1957), The Silence (1963), Persona (1966), Cries and Whispers (1972), Scenes from a Marriage (1973), and Fanny and Alexander (1982). Bergman directed over sixty films and documentaries for cinematic release and for television, most of which he also wrote. He also directed over 170 plays. From 1953, he forged a powerful creative partnership with his full-time cinematographer Sven Nykvist. Among his company of actors were Harriet and Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Gunnar Björnstrand, Erland Josephson, Ingrid Thulin and Max von Sydow. Most of his films were set in Sweden, and numerous films from Through a Glass Darkly (1961) onward were filmed on the island of Fårö. His work often deals with death, illness, faith, betrayal, bleakness and insanity. Philip French referred to Bergman as "one of the greatest artists of the 20th century [...] he found in literature and the performing arts a way of both recreating and questioning the human condition." Mick LaSalle argued, "Like Virginia Woolf and James Joyce in literature, Ingmar Bergman strove to capture and illuminate the mystery, ecstasy and fullness of life, by concentrating on individual consciousness and essential moments." more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Persona" STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 14 Aug. 2022. <>.

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