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

R  |   |  Drama  |  5 March 1973 (Sweden)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 17,214 users  
Reviews: 194 user | 65 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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bergman, who produced the film with his own money, could not find an American distributor as they felt it was too uncommercial. Roger Corman, who had just left American-International Pictures to set up his own New World releasing company, was in the market for a prestige picture to give his new operation some class. See more »

Quotes

David: Come over here Maria. Look at yourself in the mirror. You are beautiful... but you have changed. These days you cast rapid, calculating, sidelong glances. You're gaze used to be direct, open, and without any disguise. Your mouth is an expression of discontent and hunger. It used only to be soft. Your complexion has become pallid, you use make-up. Your fine, broad forehead now has four creases above each eyebrow... And this fine contour from the ear to the chin... it's no longer quite so evident...
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

 
Pain, Hate, Love, God, Death...Yet Another Bergman Masterpiece.
26 October 2006 | by (Venezuela) – See all my reviews

How many masterpieces can one director make? In the case of Ingmar Bergman, the answer would be plenty. This is one beautiful, but very painful and at times horrifying film. I think I've yet to see another film that depicts the pain, suffering and despair of dying to such vividness that like the characters, one almost feels the need to look away. The story itself is fairly simple - a woman is in the final stages of cancer/tuberculosis and her two sisters and maid take care of her in her final days - but Bergman's unique narrative style and the complexity and depth of his script turn what at first seems a horror show into a profound meditation on faith, love and mortality. Bergman's direction is simply too perfect. The way the film is conceived visually couldn't be more evocative of its themes. The intensity of the color red to convey the hell these characters are living, and the chamber-like, claustrophobic atmosphere it creates is suffocating and exhausting. Sven Nykvist's Oscar-winning cinematography is simply one of the most inventive and unique I've ever seen in a movie. Bergman's narrative strategy is incredibly thoughtful and effective; it's like the scenes flowed into each other, and despite the horror we are to endure, there is such tact, sensitivity, attention to detail and a feeling of intimacy to every scene. It's simply glorious to behold, appreciate and let yourself be taken by the emotions and insights this film has to offer. All four actresses give spectacular performances: Harriet Andersson (Agnes) is searing physical pain personified, Liv Ullmann (Maria) is so nuanced and real in her flight sensuality (one extended scene that is a close-up to her face is astonishing in the incredible nuances of expressiveness and what the character is trying to conceal but can't), Ingrid Thulin (Karin) is chilling to the bone (and that one scene that is about mutilation in a very sensitive place is for sure one I'll never forget) and Kari Sylwan (Anna) is pure warmth, dedication and love. Bergman has a fame for depicting a bleak and pessimistic view of the world, and I won't argue with that, but I don't think his humanism is addressed very often. I had heard so many things about how depressing and horrifying this film is, and it is indeed, but it is not hopeless. Yes, Bergman suggests that the world can a horrible place and the human experience is full of pain, loneliness and cruelty, but he also suggests that if we extend our love to one another and let ourselves be loved, the burden won't be as hard to bare, and that there will be moments that will bring us love, happiness and grace, as Agnes says in her beautiful and haunting soliloquy. Agnes manages to find solace and consolation even though she's living the most excruciating hell because she allows herself to love and be loved, and her confrontation with death won't be as terrifying. Maria and Karin on the other hand, as the film suggests, will have to endure the pain and fear of dying in utter loneliness because they don't allow themselves to be loved and have lost the ability to love as well. The film is also bold and insightful enough to suggest that the most awful of circumstances in which a human being can be is paradoxically what strengthens one's faith and love, therefore sustaining one's existence.

A Masterpiece.


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