"Persona" is the first Ingmar Bergman film to be released here through Lopert Pictures, as the result of an agreement for worldwide distribution between United Artists, Lopert's parent company, and Ab Svensk Filmindistri. Thus this 27th film of the most famous of all Scandinavian film directors is destined to reach a larger audience than any of his previous pictures. And rightly so, for "Persona" is the best Bergman film in five or six years since his major achievements, "Wild Strawberries" and "The Magician." Telling of a psychological contest between an actress-patient who has become mute and the nurse who helps her regain normal behavior while experiencing a self-revelation herself, the film becomes a powerful statement on contemporary life -- cold wars, sexual promiscuity, loss of individuality and rejection of religion. The title refers to the players' masks in classical drama, supposedly juxtaposing the real and the unreal. Bibi Andersson as the nurse gives a tour de force performance of overwhelming power. Newcomer Liv Ullmann as the actress is as moving and real as Miss Andersson. Sven Nykist's photography uses close-ups for the most part with pulsating effectiveness. Bergman's gifts as a writer and director have never been more realized. "Persona" is for the elite art house market, film scholars and students everywhere. It is a beautiful and moving work of art. Lopert 81 mins.