Cries & Whispers (The Criterion Collection)
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a really interesting film from many points of view.
The predominant colours are red and black and white and this makes a statement in itself. Read more
Horrible-worst movie I ever endured. Was recommended as a horror movie; the horror was that it might never end!Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
I have seen many Bergman movies. This has had great reviews but I have more trouble identifying with the characters than I have had in most movies. I'm not sure why that is. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Robert W. Marquis
This film is masterful. Don't pay attention to the negative reviews because they are from people who expected this film to be like the ones they watch from Hollywood and filled... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Enrique Godinez
One of the movies that taught me how to be a grownup.Published 15 months ago by Sylviatoyindustries
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