Two Electras?

Persona by Ingmar Bergman, 
the first appearance of Electra (Liv Ullmann)

The second appearance of Electra
(Bibi Anderson?)

In Persona, Bergman uses two shots of Elisabeth Vogler acting on stage. The first comes early on when Alma is told about her new patient.  The second appears at the end when Alma, alone, leaves the house on an island.

I’ve been conducting a Bergman films analysis class several times already. This fall one student upon looking closely at the two shots proposed that in the second shot it is Alma (Bibi Anderson) and not Elisabeth (Liv Ullmann).

Such an interpretation would make perfect sense out of the film’s ending which puzzled many for years. Is it possible that Bergman planted such an “key” to understand his film and never revealed it? Is it possible that nobody (nobody!) noticed it since the release of Persona in 1966?

Of course the idea that Alma and Elisabeth are one is banal by now, and some have said that it could be all happening inside the Alma’s psyche, but never have I found the proof of it in the actual “double casting of Electra”.

Check it out for yourself comparing the screenshots above.   

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