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.
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.