Cries and Whispers Screen 11 articles

Cries and Whispers

1972

Cries and Whispers Poster
  • Everything I hate about Bergman concentrated into a single film. The dour humorlessness; the mannered performances; the ticking clocks that infiltrate portentous silences with metronomic reminders of mortality; the overwrought arias of verbal cruelty; the expository flashbacks; the random mood swings designed merely to startle...it's as close as he ever came to self-parody, practically as ludicrous as SCTV's Whispers of the Wolf.

  • More a rough draft for a Bergman movie than a finished product, this 1972 film promises much and delivers little or nothing. Still, it's beautifully made and photographed, and features some rather arresting, if familiar, performances from a quartet of Bergman's most skillful actresses: Liv Ullmann, Ingrid Thulin, Harriet Andersson, and Kari Sylwan. The much-vaunted color symbolism is so obvious as to be almost charming in its simplicity, and the gothic ambience never really resonates.

  • What materializes throughout is less an exemplary work on the nature of faith and decay than an austere exercise in form that banalizes the concept of an "art film" by reducing its passages to their most symptomatic qualities.

  • Cries and Whispers is a powerful, richly textured exploration of the human soul... Similar to Leo Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilych, death confers a profound revelation whose meaning escapes the survivors. Cries and Whispers is a beautifully devastating story of isolation, communication, love, and death.

  • Certainly Cries and Whispers marks the most sophisticated use of color in Bergman’s long career... From a thematic point of view, Cries and Whispers represents Bergman’s most daring attempt to achieve a dream state on film. The script itself was couched in the language of a story, with more stress on atmosphere and milieu than on dialogue. The result is a film that has the seamless quality of life experienced in trance-like form.

  • The first Bergman film to knock me flat. I watched it again the other night, still mesmerized by it all, and still unable to adequately explain its power. The greatest compliment I can give Cries and Whispers is that it is a profoundly religious film, by which I mean that it is deeply concerned, first and foremost, with the struggles of the human condition in light of the presence... of God. That it approaches this subject with such grace and honesty makes it a masterpiece.

  • Bergman’s Cries and Whispers is a quintessential entry in the director’s oeuvre. This is a visually stunning film deeply concerned with the emotional and physical pain of its protagonists. Even more, Cries and Whispers is a highly praised and much admired film, which could possibly be the most accomplished cinematographical work of Bergman’s multi-faceted career.

  • Ingmar Bergman’s 1972 drama “Cries and Whispers” (which I discuss in this clip) is a period piece, a costume film set around the turn of the century, but its shocking eruptions of physical and emotional violence make it feel like an utterly contemporary work about a world in political and intimate turmoil.

  • Its achievement, making it emerge from Bergman’s extraordinary corpus as unique, is in its incandescent touching of love and horror in their fullest extremes. This is pursued in particular in the film’s sensual apprehension of women, adored and loathed, in their attention to each other, in their holding and touching, as Bergman lets Cries and Whispers summon all at once, in perfection, the blossom softness of the mother’s body and the uncanny, hot and cold beauty of the female corpse.

  • The psychodramas on top of and below the primary-colors-in-Vermeer's-nightmares surface have their own Bergmanic inevitability and naked torque. So much has been written about the film already, but little of it nails its impact, which is holistic and derives from a boiling mix of saturated color, scalding intimacy, compositional ideas that effortlessly evoke both medieval and Freudian iconography, immersive performances, and a blood-pumping state of intense psychological and familial crisis.

  • The idea came to Bergman in the form of an image of a room in a large house at the turn of the century, in which everything is red except for four women in white. Nykvist captures both the dazzling beauty of this tableau as well as its slow transformation into a portrait of ugliness and death as the sisters' fears and mutual contempt emerge. The suffusion of red not only stresses the blood ties that suffocate their lives but the barely suppressed rage that poisons the atmosphere.

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