A magisterial film, and one of the best that Bergman has ever made, Cries and Whispers is a study of emotional need within a family context. Set at the turn of the last century, in a country mansion clad with scarlet walls and curtains, the film delineates the dying hours of a cancer sufferer (Harriet Andersson) who is attended by her bickering sisters (Liv Ullmann and Ingrid Thulin) and a faithful maid (Kari Sylwan). Hastening from room to room in anxious silence, united only by their long white dresses, these women constitute a group portrait. Bergman said that each bears traits of his mother’s personality, and he explained the blood-red interiors as having been inspired by a recurring image of the ‘interior of the soul’ as a scarlet membrane. Filmed and performed with peerless authority, this beautiful film is not only a credit to Bergman but also to his talented collaborators.
1972.English subtitles.Colour.91 mins.
PlusKarin’s FaceBergman’s superb documentary about his mother.
English subtitles.Black and white.14 mins.