Cries and Whispers

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Karin and Maria (played by Ingrid Thulin and Liv Ullmann, respectively) have come to stay with their sister Agnes (Harriet Andersson), who is suffering from cancer, during the final stretch of her illness. Attending to Agnes is her faithful maid Anna (Kari Sylwan), who, in spite of her apparent social inferiority, is the only one who remains steadfast and dauntless until the very end--the two other women, plagued by guilt, loneliness, and jealousy of one another, are unable to offer assistance or even sympathy in their sister's hour of need. (official distributor synopsis)


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Reviews (5)


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English Ingmar Bergman shows his mastery, in terms of direction, script, and, above all, the choice of actors. Harriet Andersson as the dying Agnes is incredibly convincing and you believe every pain she might have as a cancer-stricken woman. And to top it all off, incredible images that you just don't expect. This is a powerful display of authorial mastery. ()


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English I wanted to cry, I wanted to die, but not from the joy of an artistic experience. Perhaps it was just the formal arrogance filled with sexist doom, boredom, superficiality, and anger. I don't ever want to see Kari Sylwan almost breastfeeding Harriet Andersson again in my life. ()



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English A simple idea in a hugely effective and poignant delivery, as only Bergman can do. The retrospective form enhances the psychological sketch of the characters, and the brilliant actresses hardly need to speak to tell us the core ideas or the symbolic value of a scene. Given the predictable twist, which is basically the whole film, Cries and Whispers cannot be ranked at the top of the director's extensive oeuvre, but it still deserves a privileged and important position in the unlimited expressive world of cinema. ()


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English However it may be overly stagey and slow in places, and in some ways reminiscent of that scene in The Simpsons when a desperate Marge tries to find at least one film at Sundance that doesn't beat her over the head with overwrought depression, this is still one of the deepest and darkest treatments of dying I've seen. The ending turns into a beautiful catharsis in melancholy. ()


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English It's hard to believe that Cries and Whispers is only one year away from the perfect Scenes from a Marriage. Here, Ingmar Bergman only symbolizes, depresses, but does not give the viewer an inch, only shoots for himself, indulges in form, and puts a big crack in the frame of my admiration for him. I don't want to watch false ambiguity with an artificial atmosphere (even with any interesting red artistic concept) and a trivial outcome. And I don't want to become interested in characters who whisper, cry, and confess, but in the end are shallower than their emotional expressions and remain mere puppets in a shadow play. ()

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