Thematically engaging, Tonally grim and somber, beautifully photographed by ace lenser Sven Nykvist, and powerfully acted by Sweden's best actresses, Ingmar Bergman's masterpiece "Cries and Whispers" tells the drama of a dying woman, her two sisters, and her servant, Anna, who's dedicated to her.
You could see the film as a realistic drama about the long, painful process of dying, as well as an allegory about different types of women and their diaparate approach to issues of family, honor, marriage, and love.
One of the few foreign-language films to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, "Cries and Whispers received a well-deserved Oscar Award for Sven Nykvist's brilliant cinematography, dominated by the color red and images that were integrated into the narrative emotionally as well as technically.
"Cries and Whispers" stars Harriet Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Ingrid Tulin and Erland Josephson, all accomplished performers of Bergman's famed troupe that appear in many of his films, separately or jointly.
While all the actresses are superb, it's Ingrid Thulin who gives the standout performance in a most difficult role, as Karin, asuicidal, unhappily married, who once had mutilated her own vagina in order to avoid physical contact with her husband.
Liv Ullman (Bergman's real-life companion at the time and mother of his child) playsbtwo roles, Maria, an earthy woman who once cheated on her husband, driving her husband into attempted suicide, as well as the women's mother (in flashback).
The most arrestinh seuences in the film are silent, poetic evocations of love and pain, with the kind of imagery that's not only breath-taking but also juxtaposed with the utterly stark and bleak subject matter.
The film, one of my favorite Bergman's works, should be subjected to repeat viewing as it's rich and dense and truly gripping.
Karin (Ingrid Thulin)
Maria/Her Mother (Liv Ullmann
Agnes (Harriet Anderson)
Anna (Kari Sylwan)
Doctor (Erlan Josephson)
Fredrik, Karin's Husband) Georg Arlin
Joakin, Maria Husband (Henning Moritzen)
Pastor (Anders Ek)
Maria's Daughter (Linn Ullmann)
Agnes as Chld (Rosanna Mariano)
Produced, directed, written by Ingmar Bergman
Camera: Sven Nykvist
Editing: Siv Lundgren
Music: Chopin, Bach
Art direction: Marik Voss.
Costume: Greta Johansson
Running Time: 106 minutes