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Cries and Whispers (The Criterion Collection)

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Cries and Whispers (The Criterion Collection) + Criterion Collection: Persona [Blu-ray]
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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: Anamorphic, Color, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, Swedish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: Oct. 1 2002
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005EBSF
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #31,373 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

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.


Ingmar Bergman's great 1972 film is about the elemental things: death and dying, sex, injury, repression, and the body as a fount of sustenance. No wonder Bergman chooses to focus on female characters, in this case three sisters--one of whom is dying of tuberculosis--and a maid who is the only one capable of caring for the ill woman. The film is noteworthy for many reasons, not least of all an interesting camera style that marries beautiful imagery with an anxious frame. That tension perfectly suits the overlapping psychodramas of the piece, but this is a movie that ultimately pushes beyond the particulars of these characters' virtues or neuroses to a greater mystery, one that somehow sustains our existence while slowly taking it away. A landmark film. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: DVD
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
This film, with the original title, "Viskningar och rop", remains one of the most chilling art house dramas to come out of Sweden.
The story is about two women Karin and Maria who have moved in with their terminally ill sister, Agnes to help care for her.
While the disease Agnes is dying from is never mentioned by name, seems to be a form of cancer as many other terminal illnesses of the time were contagious and the sisters and the maid don't seem to be worry about being infected.
The film shows flashbacks of the sisters when they were all healthy and some others also. The film is definately not for children as there are many scenes that even some adults might not be able to watch. One of these scenes is sexual in nature and involves self-mutilation with a piece of broken glass.
There is also a disturbing death scene and several others related to terminal illnesses
The Criterion DVD has an interview with director Ingmar Bergman as a special feature and there is also an optional English language track.
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Format: DVD
Agnes is dying of cancer at the end of what one imagines to be late 19th Century, and is taken care of by her sisters Karin (Ingrid Thulin) and Maria (Liv Ullman), and the maid Anna (Kari Sylwan). This is one of the purest and most horrifying films I believe Bergman has ever made. A shade of the color red dominates throughout the film, and brings an immediate and naturally convincing mood. All actors contribute with a powerful and chilling intensity, especially actress Harriet Andersson--whose pain as Agnes is very believable, even enchanting--and are more than well supported by the amazing camera work of Sven Nykvist. To prove that this is the work of a brilliant, highly skilled director, and professional actors and crew, the movie was shot on location in only six weeks!
The Criterion disc features a 52-minute interview with Ingmar Bergman and Erland Josephson (who appears briefly in the movie), taped for Swedish television in 2000. Interviewed by Malou von Sivers, Bergman and Josephson discuss life, death, and love. Bergman, here at age 82, proves to be a down-to-earth and young-at-heart guy. The sound in the interview (surprisingly enough for a Criterion disc), distorts a bit, and can be quite distracting at times, but is not so bothersome that one wouldn't want to continue listening to what these masters of film and cinema have to say (even if the topics barely touch upon their work and careers).
Optional subtitles, as well as an English-dubbed soundtrack are available. The dubbing is surprisingly accurate to the picture, and is done by the actors featured in the movie. At times this accuracy may convince you that the movie was made in English. Still (despite this stunning surprise), I would suggest watching this in Swedish, as intended - at least the first time around.
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By A Customer on Aug. 29 2003
Format: DVD
Although I am usually strongly opposed to Top Ten, Best of the Year, and All-Time-Favorite lists in film, music, and literature (Hear that, Modern Library?! Just because you're so hot on the works of James Joyce doesn't mean everyone else thinks they're worth the paper they're printed on--but I digress...), I'll make an exception in the case of Cries and Whispers, which has earned every one of its superlatives and acclaims. Along with Persona, it reflects a more adventurous side of the somewhat conservative director Ingmar Bergman--and both films are stunning successes.
The ostensible narrative is as follows: Two sisters, Karin and Maria, return to their family estate to keep vigil over their dying sister Agnes. While the two are quite capable and willing--out of duty, perhaps--to attend to Agnes' physical needs, they find themselves ill-equipped to console her or to offer her the emotional support that the quiet, simple household servant Anna devotedly provides. Through their particularly harrowing encounter with Agnes' death--and by inference, of course, with their own--the three survivors are forced to confront their memories, fantasies, and most repressed feelings toward one another.
Apart from the largely linear main narrative, three segments of the film are demarcated from the rest by red-hued shots of the faces of Maria, Karin, and Anna, respectively, each staring forward, engaged in the act of remembering and imagining. Between these establishing shots, we enter three ambiguous dream-like settings from each of these women's points-of-view. Each of these three scenarios appears to be a composite, to varying degrees, of actual and imagined events, the latter seemingly motivated by--or a projection of--the repressed feelings of the particular woman.
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By Joanna Daneman on Feb. 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 "Enkiru" 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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