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Cries and Whispers

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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.

Plus
Karin’s Face

Bergman’s superb documentary about his mother.

1985.

English subtitles.
Black and white.
14 mins.

Screenings

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