48:e festivalen 24 jan - 2 feb, 2025

Another Persona

Göteborg Film Festival Replaces Liv Ullmann with Alma Pöysti in AI-Generated Version of Ingmar Bergman's Persona

48:e festivalen
24 Jan -
2 Feb, 2025

”Every intonation is a lie, every gesture a forgery.” – Persona

What happens to film when AI takes control?

Over the past year, it has become clear that the new AI technology will change the world of cinema. Will the technology enable more efficient workflows and better movies, or will it lead to artists being marginalized and replaced by machines? During the strikes in the American film industry, screenwriters and actors have protested against how film studios want to use the new technology and minimize compensations and rights. It is a struggle that will likely need to continue and involve filmmakers in other countries.

But what does the AI technology really mean for the art of film? For example, what happens when one face is replaced by another? Who is acting then? These are questions that we need to discuss to understand how filmmakers can relate to the technology. To give new perspectives on these issues, Göteborg Film Festival, in collaboration with SF Studios, Gothenburg Film Studios, and the Ingmar Bergman Foundation, is producing an AI-generated version of Persona where Alma Pöysti plays Liv Ullmann’s character Elisabet Vogler. The film experiment will be shown exclusively once at Göteborg Film Festival 2024 in the presence of Alma Pöysti. The screening will be followed by a conversation about acting and technology.

Ingmar Bergman’s Persona is about the nurse Alma who takes care of the actress Elisabet Vogler in a secluded summer house by the sea. Persona is the most acclaimed film in Swedish film history and one of the most written about and influential films in the world, due to its revolutionary aesthetics, fantastic actors, and radical discussion about technology, identity, and acting. Today, AI technology sheds new light on these questions. Ingmar Bergman described Persona as a sonata for two instruments. Now we are adding a third.

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“The discussion about acting, masks, and authenticity that has made Persona a classic has been urgently reactivated by technological advancements. Not least, the strike in Hollywood has sparked an important debate on production possibilities and labor-market threats in relation to AI. We want to add an artistic and existential dimension to the discussion, and we want to do it by engaging with Ingmar Bergman’s incomparable film. Another Persona will be a uniquely thought-provoking and quite unsettling cinematic experience.”

– Jonas Holmberg, Artistic Director, Göteborg Film Festival

“As administers of Bergman’s artistry, we at The Ingmar Bergman Foundation and SF Studios think that Another Persona is a brilliant project. ‘Every intonation is a lie, every gesture a forgery,’ it is said in Bergman’s 1966 film. This becomes even more true now! In a time when we outsource ourselves to machines and at the same time seek our authentic selves,” says Jan Holmberg, CEO, The Ingmar Bergman Foundation.

Ingmar Bergman was the Honorary President of the Göteborg Film Festival until his death in 2007. He played an active role in the festival and, not least, in the creation of the festival’s international debut competition, The Ingmar Bergman Competition.

Alma Pöysti is known, among other things, for her leading roles in the Tove Jansson biopic Tove and Aki Kaurismäki’s Fallen Leaves. During the Göteborg Film Festival 2023, she was awarded the Dragon Award for Best Acting for her role in Four Little Adults.

“With curiosity and trepidation, I embark on this incredibly insane experiment (typical Göteborg Film Festival!). The idea behind Another Persona is fascinating from an actor-existential standpoint, with philosophical, technical, moral, and copyright dimensions… Bergman and Ullmann are idols, and Persona is a masterpiece. So, I approach the source material with great humility and respect. Venturing into the AI world is like setting out into unknown territory without a map. I look forward to the adventure,” says Alma Pöysti.

AI in focus at Göteborg Film Festival

Another Persona is part of the focus on AI that will characterize the Göteborg Film Festival 2024. In the section Focus: Another Intelligence, the film festival will deepen the discussion on artificial intelligence from both artistic and social perspectives, but also highlight and discuss artistic applications of AI. Another Persona will be screened only one time, at Göteborg Film Festival 2024.

Read more about the focus here.

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