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Monday, January 6, 2014

239 of 1001 Movies: Cries and Whispers (1972)

Watching Cries and Whispers may induce crying and whispering. The whispering from the insanity. Ingmar Bergman directs a movie about women that I think will resonate with women's emotions, but there is something very cold and masculine within the movie too that makes it feel less feminine than you would imagine. There are also some very artsy scenes and lots of red. So you better love red before you decide to watch this movie. The red will become the most memorable aspect.

Summary: Three sisters are reunited after discovering that one of them is dying from cancer. It's the early twentieth century and the trials and love they have for each other is revealed. While the sister is dying a painful death they all relive their own lives and what brought them here, along with the lady, Anna, who has been serving the dying sister, Agnes. Both of them are from struggling marriages. The biggest question for these sisters though is whether the death of one can bring them together, or if their relationships will stay the same?


Acting: The acting is really good, and I think the actress convey the vibe that the director was going for through his acting. Harriet Andersson stars as Agnes, the dying sister. Her portrayal and pain she expresses was quite haunting, and one of the most disturbing I've seen. She seems to be the only one who was truly happy unlike her other sisters though up till before her painful last days. Ingrid Thulin is Anna, and it's interesting the perception we receive of her before seeing her character's flashback and the one we have after seeing it. It portrays her as one of the most disturbed, yet her ability to be cool and calm before that painted her very differently. Liv Ullmann is Maria, and the one that you would figure has the most predictable past, and I think that is why the movie covers her flashback before the others. Her character development though brings her to be vicious and cold though. Then there is Kari Sylwan as the servant, Anna, and I don't get why she exactly had a tie in flashback considering she wasn't apart of the family, but I suppose it was to showcase why she does some of the things that seem odd in taking care of Agnes.

Filming: The most noticeable thing you'll notice about this movie, particularly if you watched a lot of Bergman's movies is that he uses red instead of his prominent black and white trademark. The red though does resonate feelings and increases the oddness of the movie. I think the characters are very still, and almost emotionless for much the movie, so it adds emotions sometimes where none is at.

Plot: The movie is really depressing. There is no lying about that. It isn't anything intended for light viewing, or when you might be easily bummed out. The story though doesn't try to make the act of dying any easier though, and it makes it worse in a way that the person dying seems to be the happiest of the bunch, and she still looks like someone who could live for a while younger. The painful moments are just as gruesome. It isn't just her own pain that is bad though. There are violent and disturbing scenes that feature the rest of the cast as well, and it shows that the other sisters live their own painful lives.

Cries and Whispers is an artistic endeavor that doesn't shy away from it's content. The way the actress handle their frightening moments makes it all the more riveting. For most of it they seem calm, but when they lose it they really lose it. I think that the over dramatic performances that don't have emotions in between emotionless and lots of emotion though leave me not being able to relate though. Also, some of the scenes were so graphic and difficult to watch it kept my stomach churning instead.

Rating 7.5 of 10.


Cries & Whispers (1972) on IMDb

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