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Cries & Whispers (The Criterion Collection)


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Cries & Whispers (The Criterion Collection) + Scenes from a Marriage (The Criterion Collection) + The Ingmar Bergman Trilogy (Through a Glass Darkly / Winter Light / The Silence) (The Criterion Collection)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Harriet Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Kari Sylwan, Ingrid Thulin, Anders Ek
  • Directors: Ingmar Bergman
  • Writers: Ingmar Bergman
  • Producers: Ingmar Bergman, Lars-Owe Carlberg
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Swedish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: June 19, 2001
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005EBSF
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,168 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Cries & Whispers (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Ingmar Bergman: Reflections on Life, Death and Love with Erland Josephson (1999) - a candid and revealing 52 minute interview with Bergman and long-time collaborator Erland Josephson, originally broadcast on Swedish television

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Legendary director Ingmar Bergman creates a testament to the strength of the soul-and a film of absolute power. Karin and Maria come to the aid of their dying sister, Agnes, but jealousy, manipulation, and selfishness come before empathy. Agnes, tortured by cancer, transcends the pettiness of her sisters' concerns to remember moments of being-moments that Bergman, with the help of Academy Award®-winning cinematographer Sven Nykvist, translates into pictures of staggering beauty and unfathomable horror.

Additional Features

Criterion's anamorphic release of Cries & Whispers, presented in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio, truly expresses this film's chromatic power. There are a few specks and scratches, but by and large it looks very sharp. The original Swedish Mono audio track has been re-mastered and sounds very clean. It is worth noting that since the audio is mostly dialog, the mono is not that detrimental. The English dubbed soundtrack is a close translation and a plus for those who want to fully concentrate on the visual beauty of this film. A nice extra is the rare 52 minute interview Bergman recorded in 1999. Bergman candidly discusses life, death, love, career paths and film techniques. You may be surprised to learn that Bergman is not as dark and introverted as often perceived. --Robert Bracco

Customer Reviews

Second, the movie tells more because it says less; and in that way is can be called one of the early Minimalist films.
Josef Bush
Of the three sisters, only the dying Agnes has truly loved living, while her Painful Death exposes the Ugly Lives of her selfish, spoiled, self-disgusted sisters.
Giordano Bruno
The film is emotionally powerful, beautiful and quite frankly very frightening in the manner Bergman executes its premise.
Woopak

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By RALPH PETERS on May 9, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There was such a buzz of excitement and curiosity about this film during its initial U. S. release that I would have given almost anything (at age 12) to sneak off and see it. No such luck; I would have to wait another 12 years for the video version and, in retrospect, am glad to have had the extra years. Some of the images in this brilliant collage of thoughts and dreams are far too disturbing to take in as an adult, let alone in childhood. As is the mark of a true classic, CRIES AND WHISPERS grows richer and more meaningful upon each repeated viewing (as do PERSONA, THE PASSION OF ANNA, and SHAME--other classic Bergman entries during this period of his epoch). The meanings of the flashbacks begin to gel in our minds and connect with some of the sisters' subsequent behavior (or not) and the painful, earthbound reality of death and its horrors has rarely been more poignantly portrayed in film. Much credit goes to these wonderful actresses: the legendary Liv Ullmann, whose physical beauty is transcended only by the grace and dignity of her soul; the difficult but finally endearing Ingrid Thulin; the strength and dignity of Harriet Andersson as the dying Agnes--a performance of overwhelming power and conviction that, inexplicably, was absent during the awards seasons.
But, finally, it is the dreamlike authority and insinuation of Bergman's camera that stays with us, scenes so initmate and personal we begin to feel voyeuristic, almost apologetic for watching. Two scenes are most memorable for me: the dying Agnes lying against the maternal breast of housekeeper Anna in a Pieta-like pose of unbearable sadness and the final dream/memory sequence of Agnes remembering a time when she and her sisters were happy and at peace in their mother's garden.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Daneman #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 1, 2003
Format: DVD
I first saw this film when it was released in 1972. Everyone on campus was excited--a new Bergman film was an event in the arts community there. So I trooped along, a merry teenager, to see my first Bergman film.

Oh my. The opening scene was unlike anything I'd ever seen, even in a foreign film. The first scene opens on Agnes (played by Harriet Andersson) waking up in pain and thirst. She is obviously dying, and taking her time about it. The opening minutes are some of the most extraordinary in cinema. The harshly sunlit room points up the transparency of Agnes' skin, her parched lips, her ravaged frame. The camera moves in tight for closeups (which is a testament to the makeup artist for this film.)

Agnes' awakening seems far more real than the studied mannerisms of her sisters Maria (Liv Ullmann) and Karin (Ingrid Thulin.) Maria is a silly goose, and Karin is a dour disciplinarian. They are caught in lifeless marriages. Each seeks escape in one form or another. But there is no escape from their sterile lives or their ties to their sister, who must represent their souls which are as parched and dead as Agnes'cancer-riddled body.

This is one of the most unforgettable, if depressing films I've ever seen. Only Kurosawa's "Ikiru" comes close to it in subject manner, and it is a walk in the park by comparison. For sheer film excellence and uniqueness, "Cries and Whispers" stands alone on a frosty mountain peak.

Best seen with a box or two of tissues and some kind of anti-depressant.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 2, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Upon its release CRIES AND WHISPERS was hailed as one of Bergman's finest films. Although it has not quite held onto that original evaluation, it remains a very fine film--a subtle and delicately performed drama as remarkable for its silence as for its occasional moments of dialogue. And in many respects it offers an extremely good introduction to Bergman's work.
Like many of Bergman's films, CRIES AND WHISPERS shows the director's preoccupations with memory, communication, time, community, and death. The story is bleak: Agnes is dying and her sisters Karin and Maria have come to attend her during this final illness--but they prove unable to communicate in a meaningful way with either Agnes or each other, and Agnes' emotional care is left largely to her long-time maid, the devoted Anna.
As the film unwinds, we are bought into the memories of each woman in turn. The dying Agnes (played with powerful realism by Harriet Andersson) not only graples with increasing pain, she recalls with regret the emotional separation that existed between her long-dead mother and herself. Sister Maria (Liv Ullman), a mindless sensualist, recalls an act of adultry that has poisoned her marriage; Sister Karin (Ingrid Thulin), who is emotionally cold, recalls an act of self-mutilation designed to thwart her husband's desires. Only the maid Anna (Kari Sylwan), with a peasant's directness, actually works to be of comfort, even going so far as to cradle Agnes' head on her naked breast and dreaming of comforting Agnes while her sisters fail.
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