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Cries and Whispers

Viskningar och rop

Directed by Ingmar Bergman
Sweden, 1972


A woman dying of cancer in early twentieth-century Sweden, who can find solace only in the arms of a beatific servant, is visited by her two sisters, and long-repressed feelings between the siblings rise to the surface.

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Cries and Whispers Directed by Ingmar Bergman

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

1973 | Winner: Technical Grand Prize

Academy Awards

1974 | Winner: Best Cinematography

1974 | 4 nominations including: Best Picture

National Board of Review

1973 | 3 wins including: Best Director

The idea came to Bergman in the form of an image of a room in a large house at the turn of the century, in which everything is red except for four women in white. Nykvist captures both the dazzling beauty of this tableau as well as its slow transformation into a portrait of ugliness and death as the sisters’ fears and mutual contempt emerge. The suffusion of red not only stresses the blood ties that suffocate their lives but the barely suppressed rage that poisons the atmosphere.
February 05, 2018
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The psychodramas on top of and below the primary-colors-in-Vermeer’s-nightmares surface have their own Bergmanic inevitability and naked torque. So much has been written about the film already, but little of it nails its impact, which is holistic and derives from a boiling mix of saturated color, scalding intimacy, compositional ideas that effortlessly evoke both medieval and Freudian iconography, immersive performances, and a blood-pumping state of intense psychological and familial crisis.
July 01, 2015
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Its achievement, making it emerge from Bergman’s extraordinary corpus as unique, is in its incandescent touching of love and horror in their fullest extremes. This is pursued in particular in the film’s sensual apprehension of women, adored and loathed, in their attention to each other, in their holding and touching, as Bergman lets Cries and Whispers summon all at once, in perfection, the blossom softness of the mother’s body and the uncanny, hot and cold beauty of the female corpse.
April 02, 2015
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