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Cries and Whispers (The Criterion Collection)

Harriet Andersson , Liv Ullmann , Ingmar Bergman    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
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Cries and Whispers (The Criterion Collection) + Autumn Sonata (The Criterion Collection) + Scenes from a Marriage
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Product Description

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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

Special 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Among Bergman's Masterpieces May 5 2012
By K. Gordon TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
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 -everywhere.

The performances are astounding. Up to this point in Bergman's career there was often a
theatricality even to the truly great Bergman performances, but here the actors always feel
exquisitely, heartbreakingly real.

"Cries and Whispers" also made me realize that Bergman is a director in general experienced as much in the aftershocks
and later absorption of seeing his films as in the moment of watching them. Tears came to me an hour after watching the
film, not while I was seeing it. It's not the way I'm used to film working, but I've had that experience too many times with
Bergman's work for it to be mere coincidence.

The exploration of the effects the slow painful death of a 19th century woman on her two sisters and long time maid (and lover?) is the
subject, but it is experienced more like a poem than like a story. And the moments of horrific reality (I've never seen
on-screen sickness and death portrayed so honestly) and poetic grace and surreal dream images dance together with nary a hitch.
A very difficult and painful, but must see film.
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3.0 out of 5 stars a shocking and haunting film June 21 2004
By Ted
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Viskningar och Rop March 9 2004
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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5.0 out of 5 stars FADE TO RED Sept. 27 2002
Format:DVD
I don't know whether it's the same for you but I used to hear above all the cries when I was watching Bergman's CRIES AND WHISPERS. Now, thanks to Criterion, I've distinctly heard the whispers. And they're harrowing. Ingmar Bergman's treatment of the sound in his movies has always been one of the major component of their success.
The four actresses, Andersson, Ullmann, Thulin and Sylwan, are exceptional. I personally enjoy again and again Harriet Andersson's performance in the role of the dying sister. Her suffering is as visible as palpable. It could be objected that CRIES AND WHISPERS is more a filmed stage play than a real picture but I don't agree. Bergman's cinematography is stupendous, with this fade to red between scenes. As if all the blood of these sisters has been sucked from their veins and thrown against your TV screen.
The 1999 documentary presented in this DVD edition is also indispensable. Ingmar Bergman is mirthful during the 52 minutes of the interview. Quite a shock for the movie lover who's just admired CRIES AND WHISPERS's austerity.
A DVD zone your library.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the top films of Ingmar Berman!
This film is bitter . And merciless . It challenges and disturbs you deeply . FIlmed in the purest mood of resources economy , the film tells about Agnes , a dying middle aged... Read more
Published on July 12 2004 by Hiram Gomez Pardo
4.0 out of 5 stars The Sounds That Haunt Us
"Cries and Whispers" was one of the first films from Ingmar Bergman I had seen. I was about 13 years old and was a strongly devoted fan. Read more
Published on June 10 2004 by Alex Udvary
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best by the one of the best...
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?! Read more
Published on Aug. 29 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Achievement
Cries and Whispers is an intense mediation on life, death, and how we squander our brief lives by succumbing to our inner demons. Read more
Published on Aug. 27 2003 by Jack M. Walter
1.0 out of 5 stars You'll wish YOU had a terminal disease.
Watch the interview with Bergman and his red-headed friend, whats-his-name, to get an idea of how big a jerk this guy is. Read more
Published on Aug. 11 2003 by Stephen B. Hughes
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting
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. Read more
Published on Feb. 1 2003 by Joanna Daneman
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable!
I recently purchased the Criterion Collection edition of Ingmar Bergman's 1972 masterpiece Cries and Whispers. Read more
Published on Jan. 29 2003 by Niloofar Ziae
5.0 out of 5 stars An Extremely Memorable Film Experience
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. Read more
Published on Jan. 19 2003 by Snow Leopard
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Bergman's Most Memorable Films
Upon its release CRIES AND WHISPERS was hailed as one of Bergman's finest films. Although it has not quite held onto that original evaluation, it remains a very fine film--a... Read more
Published on Nov. 2 2002 by Gary F. Taylor
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