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Cries and Whispers

Cries and Whispers

4.5 2
Director: Ingmar Bergman, Harriet Andersson, Kari Sylwan, Ingrid Thulin

Cast: Ingmar Bergman, Harriet Andersson, Kari Sylwan, Ingrid Thulin


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Few films have carried such devastating emotional weight as Ingmar Bergman's haunting Cries and Whispers. Winner of numerous international film awards (as well as being nominated for an Oscar for Best Film), the film brilliantly showcased legendary cinematographer Sven Nykvist's striking compositions, and allowed much of the film's mysteries to be translated


Few films have carried such devastating emotional weight as Ingmar Bergman's haunting Cries and Whispers. Winner of numerous international film awards (as well as being nominated for an Oscar for Best Film), the film brilliantly showcased legendary cinematographer Sven Nykvist's striking compositions, and allowed much of the film's mysteries to be translated purely through the images and colors. This really is a film that must be seen in the cinema to be fully appreciated. Not surprisingly, the Criterion Collection has taken the utmost care remastering the print for DVD, allowing the lush, almost surreal colors to bloom and resonate on the small screen like never before. It may not be a huge theater screen, but this disc's picture quality makes home viewing a close second. The image is always balanced and sharp, and there is a sense of detail in the picture that was sadly lacking from previous video releases of the film. Memorable for its constant use of the color red, the image is never soft or fuzzy and only occasionally grows problematic. Blacks are always deep and appropriately velvety. The film is available in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and has been enhanced for widescreen televisions. The disc is available in its original Swedish language mono soundtrack with optional English subtitles or in an inferior English-dubbed option. Most notable, though, is the inclusion of a fascinating and rare interview with the director and actor Erland Josephson (who frequently worked with Bergman). Taken from a Swedish television program, the 52-minute interview is insightful, casual, and a definite chalk above your average interview program, due mostly to some rather lengthy, complex, and hard-hitting questions by the host. The sound isn't always the greatest on the segment, but it's nothing too bothersome. Without a doubt, this is a great look at two great artists.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
Enveloped by an almost oppressive silence, with faint whispering punctuated by screams of agony, and washed in deep shades of red, Ingmar Bergman's 1972 masterpiece Cries and Whispers finds the Swedish writer-director at his provocative best. Two wealthy women (Ingrid Thulin and Liv Ullmann) keep a vigil over their dying sister (Harriet Andersson), attended by their family's loyal maid (Kari Sylwan). What emerges from this crucible of suffering is an intense character study that explores the sisters' cold, repressed lives of privilege through icy conversations, dreams, and flashbacks. Cries and Whispers approaches perfection on every level: Bergman's dialogue is surgically precise yet savagely intimate, the music of Bach and Chopin is used sparingly but to overwhelming effect, and the cinematography by Bergman's longtime collaborator Sven Nykvist is a spectacularly vivid yet subtle manipulation of color and light that won Nykvist an Academy Award. The color of blood plays a crucial role here: Indeed, there are no fades to black in Cries and Whispers, only fades to red. As is typical of Bergman's best work, the film mines the depths of physical and emotional pain, and it can be disturbing to watch. And yet somehow -- despite the fact that there's not a moment of levity in Cries and Whispers, Bergman manages to wrest a strange sense of redemption from this dark material. The Criterion DVD includes both Swedish and English soundtrack options and rare interviews with Bergman and his friend the famed Swedish actor Erland Josephson.
All Movie Guide - Michael Hastings
Ingmar Bergman's Cries and Whispers (Viskningar Och Rop) finds the director exploring many of the same themes as his landmark Persona (1966). A study of three sisters and the "tissue of lies" between them, the film once again measures the tremors caused by long-buried secrets, dreams, and resentments. Not one gesture rings false, particularly in the distant-but-sympathetic performance of Bergman's longtime collaborator (and companion) Liv Ullmann, cast against type as the acidic Maria. Though obviously influenced by Chekhov and Tolstoy, Bergman makes the material his own, disrupting the script's Gothic facade with shocking, distinctly modern feelings and incidents: despite the Freudian and Jungian interpretations that can be made of individual scenes, Cries never substitutes abstract theory for character development. Cinematographer Sven Nykvist keeps the proceedings from becoming an inert chamber play; his expressionistic use of color -- punctuated by the fades to red between sequences -- is unlike anything previously seen in Bergman's work. Cries and Whispers became one of the only foreign-language films ever nominated for an Oscar as Best Picture, and Bergman received his first nomination as Best Director, cementing (if tardily) his status as the leading foreign art-movie director.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital, monaural]

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Harriet Andersson Agnes
Kari Sylwan Anna
Ingrid Thulin Karin
Liv Ullmann Maria
Erland Josephson David, the doctor
Henning Moritzen Joakin, Maria's Husband
George Arlin Fredrik
Kary Sylway Actor
Lars-Owe Carlberg Spectator
Anders Ek Pastor Isak
Inga Gill Aunt Olga
Linn Ullmann Maria's daughter

Technical Credits
Ingmar Bergman Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Lars-Owe Carlberg Producer
Cecilia Drott Makeup
Siv Lundgren Editor
Borje Lundh Makeup
Sven Nykvist Cinematographer
Marik Vos-Lundh Costumes/Costume Designer,Production Designer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Chapters
1. Time [:09]
2. "I am in pain" [2:52]
3. Maria/ Karin/ Anna [6:48]
4. Mother [2:40]
5. The doctor's visit [3:36]
6. Maria's face [5:03]
7. Joakim's retaliation [6:32]
8. Caring for Agnes [3:57]
9. "I'm much better now" [6:45]
10. God's call [8:48]
11. "A tissue of lies" [4:21]
12. Undressing [4:48]
13. Friends [5:16]
14. Hate and forgiveness [5:29]
15. Crying endlessly [1:47]
16. Agnes calls [5:18]
17. Departure [3:39]
18. Perfection [6:27]
0. Index
1. Introductions [2:26]
2. Demon director [6:08]
3. Artistic directors [1:38]
4. Fathers [4:46]
5. Guilt [6:36]
6. Women [4:47]
7. Love and forgiveness [2:46]
8. Ugly youth [4:31]
9. Vindication [2:59]
10. Chaos and solitude [2:55]
11. Aging [4:44]
12. Death [4:55]
13. Laughter and curiosity [2:56]


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Cries and Whispers 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I still can't believe what a beautifully written story, what a beautifully filmed movie, and what a beautifully acted film this is. The ensemble acting, like the dialogue throughout, can be, at times, brooding, minimalist, dreamlike, yet searing; the very moving relationship between the dying Agnes (Harriet Andersson) and Anna, the loyal maid (Kari Sylwan), is so lovingly innocent and achingly pure, it is almost hard to watch. But watch we must, and with the many extreme closeups of the actors' faces, we have no choice but to look deeply into their eyes, only to become inextricably tied to their souls.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago