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Cries & Whispers (The Criterion Collection) (1972)

Harriet Andersson , Liv Ullmann , Ingmar Bergman  |  R |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

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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: #63,013 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
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 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting February 1, 2003
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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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Extremely Memorable Film Experience January 19, 2003
There are two things that will always stand out to me about this film, which stands amongt the first rank of Ingmar Bergman's monumental body of work. Two things, I mean, above and beyond the expected brilliance of the writing and acting. Another reviewer complained about Liv Ullman's natural warmth being choked here by an unexpected characterization. One could just as easily say that it's precisely the choking of one's expectations that Bergman was aiming for, except I think that's stretching things. Quite apart from what someone thinks Ullman should act like, her performance in this film is as harrowing as all of the other sisters.
The first most memorable element of the film is the way the camera is used to characterize the three sisters. Long shots are used for the cold and distant sister, while intense close-ups are used for Ullman's intensely intimate sister. And, as one might expect, middle shots are used for the sister who holds a compromise position between these two extremes. It's not necessarily the case that this kind of filmwork is unprecedented. What makes it so amazing is how Bergman makes it completely natural, even as it is a wholly artificial, even schematic, way of filming the proceedings. There are countless other parallels in the movie (notice the wine and the eating of fish for example), but somehow he manages to create an easily "read" filmic language that at the same time is not so blatantly artsy or obvious that it becomes intrusive.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome appropriate
I do not throw the word "masterpiece" around any more than I misuse the word "awesome." For me, awesome is the way you describe the Grand Canyon and not much else. Read more
Published on October 9, 2012 by James Crafford
5.0 out of 5 stars The Empire 5 Star 500 - #118
What goes on behind closed doors? Behind closed minds?
Cries and Whispers was written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. Read more
Published on September 1, 2012 by The Inquisitor
1.0 out of 5 stars pretentious bergman crap
One of those dreadful Bergman flicks that all the trendy pseudo-hip types have to rave about to their friends. Read more
Published on July 27, 2012 by John Aquilegia
2.0 out of 5 stars Plays like a spoof of Bergman, only it isn't . . . . .
There is a stereotype that exists for "European arthouse flicks:" a bunch of emotionally constipated characters wandering aimlessly through rooms, uttering stilted and wooden... Read more
Published on June 19, 2012 by Erik Morton
5.0 out of 5 stars Among Bergman's masterpieces
Among the greatest of Bergman's works, this film fully marries mind, heart and soul.

Intensely beautiful to look at, with red - the color of blood, of death, of passion... Read more
Published on May 5, 2012 by K. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars Faces and Silences ...
... are 'louder' in this film than the cries of the dying sister Agnes or the whispers among which the two on-living sisters Maria and Karin suffer their isolation from each other... Read more
Published on November 7, 2011 by Giordano Bruno
2.0 out of 5 stars Save your money
Poorly acted. Weak plot. The movie description led me to believe there would be something to watch here. Expensive lesson.
Published on July 8, 2011 by Buyer Bob
4.0 out of 5 stars Cries and Whispers
This is deep thought provoking film. It is very typical of Ingmar Bergman movies. Almost every scene has symbolic imaagery.The acting is absolutely superb. Read more
Published on January 30, 2011 by bobs
5.0 out of 5 stars An indictment of the negative reviews.
After viewing the Criterion DVD and now out of curiosity reading various reviews from professional and amateur critics alike, I notice all negative reviews on these Amazon. Read more
Published on September 18, 2010 by M. O'Steen
4.0 out of 5 stars cries and whispers
perhaps not the best of Bergman's films but

a must for anyone studying his work.
Published on June 6, 2010 by parker
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