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Cries and Whispers

(Viskningar och rop)
Sweden 1972. Dir: Ingmar Bergman. 91 min. DCP

Nominated for five Oscars, the stunning Cries and Whispers is one of Bergman’s most visually seductive works and is often cited as the masterpiece of his late period. A haunting, intense dream play à la Strindberg, but also reminiscent of Chekhov, its late-19th-century tale is set at an elegant manor house, where unmarried Agnes (Harriet Andersson) is dying of cancer, attended by her unhappily married sisters Karin (Ingrid Thulin) and Maria (Liv Ullmann) and faithful servant Anna (Kari Sylwan). Bergman’s blood-red, occasionally brutal drama mixes past, present, reality, and fantasy as it meditates on faith, female suffering, and mortality. The film is distinguished by impeccable acting, evocative period detail, eloquent use of silence (and sound), and Sven Nykvist’s extraordinary, Academy Award-winning cinematography. “Hypnotic ... Cries and Whispers is like no movie I've seen before, and like no movie Bergman has made before” (Roger Ebert).

 

REVIEWS

"Its shocking eruptions of physical and emotional violence make it feel like an utterly contemporary work about a world in political and intimate turmoil."

The New Yorker | full review

"An extremely disturbing but ultimately touching study of human communication ... [It] may be one of the greatest films of all time."

New York Times | full review