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Cries & Whispers (1972)
"Viskningar och rop" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  5 March 1973 (Sweden)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 16,399 users  
Reviews: 194 user | 61 critic

When a woman dying of cancer in early twentieth-century Sweden is visited by her two sisters, long-repressed feelings between the siblings rise to the surface.

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Title: Cries & Whispers (1972)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 24 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Agnes
Kari Sylwan ...
Anna
...
...
Maria (and her mother)
Anders Ek ...
Isak, the priest
Inga Gill ...
Story teller
...
David, the doctor
...
Joakim, Maria's husband
Georg Årlin ...
Fredrik, Karin's husband
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Storyline

In turn-of-the-century Sweden, cancer-stricken, dying Agnes is visited in her isolated rural mansion by her sisters Karin and Maria. As Agnes' condition deteriorates and pain management becomes increasingly more difficult, fear and revulsion grip the sisters, who seem incapable of empathy, and Agnes' only comfort and solace comes from her maid Anna. As the end draws closer, long repressed feelings of grudging resentment and mistrust cause jealousy, selfishness, and bitterness between the siblings to surface. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A haunting and shattering film experience.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

5 March 1973 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Cries & Whispers  »

Box Office

Budget:

$400,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ingmar Bergman explained the use of the color red in this film: "'Cries and Whispers' is an exploration of the soul, and ever since childhood, I have imagined the soul to be a damp membrane in varying shades of red." See more »

Quotes

Karin: It's true. I think... about suicide. I've often thought about it. It's... it's disgusting. It's very degrading and everlastingly the same.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Three Scenes with Ingmar Bergman (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Mazurka in A minor, Op.17/4
by Frédéric Chopin
Played by Kabi Laretei
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of Bergman's Most Powerful Works
21 April 2005 | by (Biloxi, Mississippi) – See all my reviews

Upon its release CRIES AND WHISPERS was hailed as one of Bergman's finest films. Although it has not quite held onto that original evaluation, it remains a very fine film--a subtle and delicately performed drama as remarkable for its silence as for its occasional moments of dialogue. And in many respects it offers an extremely good introduction to Bergman's work.

Like many of Bergman's films, CRIES AND WHISPERS shows the director's preoccupations with memory, communication, time, community, and death. The story is bleak: Agnes is dying and her sisters Karin and Maria have come to attend her during this final illness--but they prove unable to communicate in a meaningful way with either Agnes or each other, and Agnes' emotional care is left largely to her long-time maid, the devoted Anna.

As the film unwinds, we are bought into the memories of each woman in turn. The dying Agnes (played with powerful realism by Harriet Andersson) not only grapples with increasing pain, she recalls with regret the emotional separation that existed between her long-dead mother and herself. Sister Maria (Liv Ullman), a mindless sensualist, recalls an act of adultery that has poisoned her marriage; Sister Karin (Ingrid Thulin), who is emotionally cold, recalls an act of self-mutilation designed to thwart her husband's desires. Only the maid Anna (Kari Sylwan), with a peasant's directness, actually works to be of comfort, even going so far as to cradle Agnes' head on her naked breast and dreaming of comforting Agnes while her sisters fail.

The film is ever so delicately tinged with subtle elements of lesbianism, sadomasochism, and incest, and the emotional problems experienced by Maria and Karin are at least partly sexual in nature--but these are not the focus of the film so much as they are surface indications of a deeper internal turmoil. As to what that deeper turmoil is... Bergman might say it is the nature of life itself. We each stand alone, usually in denial of our own mortality, usually unable to reach each other in any meaningful way. A deep film, and in spite of its occasional awkwardness a memorable and touching film. Recommended.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer


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