CASABLANCA (TIFF Lightbox) – I half expected that I’d walk away from this film thinking it was overrated by everyone who’d seen it in the past ~60 years. Seeing it all in one sitting, it wasn’t as out-dated as I’d expected; it has aged well, even if the print had obvious missing frames at a couple splices. It was funny, charming, and not as sappy as I’d imagined it. Seriously, I had only the vaguest notions of the storyline before hand – Nazis, the piano player, and the ‘If you don’t get on that plane’ speech.
PERSONA (TIFF Lightbox) – As I was going in to see Casablanca, I saw that this was the next film up on that screen. I checked the box office, and this would be the only screening of this Ingmar Bergman film. I opted to stay and finally see a Bergman film on screen. I’m not sure it’s possible to really write about some films and do them justice. There’s no way that this film could be novelized, for instance. Bergman created this film to exploit the medium itself as part of the story. “This is all a dream. Nothing is real,” he says.
I don’t know if I fell asleep during the film or not; I’m pretty sure I was awake throughout. It passed in a fashion indistinguishable in so many ways from dreaming. Seeming to make little sense; more impression than plot. Like with dreaming, I don’t know that there is a plot to be grasped. I’m sure there have been a thousand essays claiming to grasp the innermost secrets of PERSONA and they’re all both right and wrong. May as well try to predict the future.
The one impression I’m left with is that Alma and Elisabeth aren’t existing on the same timeline; I think that they may have been the same person, from different points; different universes. One may have imagine the other. It’s not something that I trust words to explain.