Göteborg Film Festival to Use AI-Generated Restoration for Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona”
In a bold and thought-provoking move, the Göteborg Film Festival has announced that it will be presenting a restored version of Ingmar Bergman’s iconic arthouse film “Persona” using artificial intelligence (AI) technology. The festival has teamed up with SF Studios, Gothenburg Film Studios, and The Ingmar Bergman Foundation to produce this AI-assisted restoration.
The most significant aspect of this restoration is the replacement of Liv Ullmann’s character, Elisabet Vogler, with actress Alma Pöysti. Using AI, Ullmann’s face will be digitally replaced by Pöysti’s, creating a new iteration of the film titled “Another Persona.” This innovative project is being described as a “cinematic experiment” and aims to explore the intersection of acting, technology, and authenticity.
The AI-generated version of “Persona” will be showcased exclusively at the 2024 Göteborg Film Festival, with both Liv Ullmann and Alma Pöysti in attendance. After the screening, there will be a discussion on the implications of AI in acting and filmmaking.
Jonas Holmberg, the outgoing Artistic Director of the Göteborg Film Festival, highlighted the timeliness of this project and its relevance to ongoing conversations in the film industry. He stated, “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.”
Jan Holmberg, CEO of The Ingmar Bergman Foundation, praised the project as a brilliant endeavor that aligns with Bergman’s themes of selfhood and identity. He emphasized the relevance of the film’s exploration of authenticity and falsehood at a time when society is increasingly navigating the complexities of technology and its impact on our lives.
Alma Pöysti, who will play the digitally recreated Elisabet Vogler, is an acclaimed Finnish actress best known for her role in Aki Kaurismäki’s “Fallen Leaves.” Her performance in “Four Little Adults” earned her the Dragon Award for Best Acting at the previous Göteborg Film Festival.
The restored version of “Persona,” titled “Another Persona,” will serve as the centerpiece of the festival’s focus sidebar, titled “Another Intelligence.” This sidebar aims to delve into the rapid evolution of AI technology and its implications for the filmmaking industry.
The Göteborg Film Festival’s decision to use AI for the restoration of a cinematic masterpiece like “Persona” raises important questions about the future of filmmaking, the boundaries of authenticity, and the role of technology in storytelling. It promises to be a thought-provoking and unsettling cinematic experience that pushes the boundaries of traditional filmmaking conventions.