It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
At first the screen is black. Then, very slowly, an area of dark gray transforms itself into blinding white. This is light projected through film onto the screen, the first basic principle of the movies. The light flickers and jumps around, finally resolving itself into a crude cartoon of a fat lady.
Then the pace picks up. There are shots of cops in old cars, maybe the Keystone Kops. There is a flicker of a tramp; maybe it was Chaplin. There is some footage from an old horror movie, and now there is a sound track too. We hear creepy music. Then some other shots, harder to place.
All this takes several minutes, before the titles for Ingmar Bergman's "Persona" finally appear on the screen. Apparently Bergman intends his film to begin with the invention of the "moving picture" and then to work its way forward in time to the present moment. He is establishing "Persona" as a definite episode in the history of the movies.
Most movies try to seduce us into forgetting we're "only" watching a movie. But Bergman keeps reminding us his story isn't "real." At a crucial moment in his plot the film seemingly breaks, and after it rips for a dozen frames it seems to catch fire within the projector. We see it melting on the screen. Then blackness, then light and then the old silent comedies again, as "Persona" starts again at the beginning.