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.