Andersson as Agnes,
Kari Sylwan as Anna, Ingrid
Thulin as Karin, Liv Ullmann as
Maria (and her mother), Anders Ek
as Isak, the priest,
Inga Gill as Story teller, Erland
Josephson as David, the doctor,
Henning Moritzen as Joakim, Maria''s husband,
Georg Årlin as Fredrik, Karin''s husband,
Linn Ullmann as Maria, as a young girl
Oscar. Another 24 wins & 8 nominations.
Cries and Whispers (Swedish: Viskningar och rop, lit.
"Whispers and Cries") is a 1972 Swedish film written and
directed by Ingmar Bergman and starring Harriet
Andersson, Kari Sylwan, Ingrid Thulin and Liv Ullmann.
The film is set at a mansion at the end of the 19th
century and is about two sisters and a maid who watch
over their third sister on her deathbed, torn between
fearing she might die and hoping that she will. After
several unsuccessful experimental films, Cries and
Whispers was a critical and commercial success for
Bergman, gaining nominations for five Academy Awards.
These included a nomination for Best Picture, which was
unusual for a foreign-language film.
Cries and Whispers returned to the traditional Bergman
themes of the female psyche or the quest for faith and
redemption. Unlike his previous films, Cries and
Whispers uses saturated colour, especially crimson. It
was for the color and light scheme that the
cinematographer and long-time Bergman collaborator Sven
Nykvist was awarded the Academy Award for Best
Cries and Whispers takes place in a lavish mansion in
the 1800s, filled with red carpets and white statuary.
It depicts the final days of Agnes (Harriet Andersson),
who is near death due to cancer. Her sisters Maria (Liv
Ullmann) and Karin (Ingrid Thulin) have returned to the
family home to be with her, however the two women remain
distant and awkward, struggling to comfort their sister
while dealing with the shock and the fear of mortality
Agnes'' death may bring to themselves. The deeply
religious maid Anna (Kari Sylwan), whose own daughter
died at an early age, is the only person in the house
able to comfort the dying woman. At length Agnes dies
and during her wake the priest (Anders Ek) declares
Agnes'' faith was stronger than his own. In a dream-like
sequence that follows Agnes seemingly returns to life
for a short moment and asks her sisters one last time
for the love and care denied her during her lifetime.
For a moment Karin, Maria and Agnes grow closer to each
other, but this is short-lived when the two sisters
realize that Agnes is actually dead, with Karin
declaring such acts "morbid" and "disgusting." Once
again only Anna is able to embrace and comfort Agnes.
The film is characterized by flashbacks that visit the
characters'' lives and their memories, tracing each
woman''s personality to the childhood they spent
together. Maria remembers her affair with a handsome
doctor juxtaposed with her failed marriage to her
ineffectual husband; Agnes remembers her unrequited
devotion to their distant mother; and Karin struggles
with self-harm, self-mutilating her sexual organs to
drive her husband away. The last flashback, from the
deceased Agnes'' point of view, is narrated via her diary
and shows her sisters descending upon the house clad in
white, like angels. The last words are Agnes whispering,
"Come what may, this is happiness. I cannot wish for
anything better. Now, for a few minutes, I can
experience perfection. And I feel profoundly grateful to
my life, which gives me so much..."
In turn-of-the-century Sweden, cancer-stricken, dying
Agnes is visited in her isolated rural mansion by her
sisters Karin and Maria. As Agnes'' condition
deteriorates and pain management becomes increasingly
more difficult, fear and revulsion grip the sisters, who
seem incapable of empathy, and Agnes'' only comfort and
solace comes from her maid Anna. As the end draws
closer, long repressed feelings of grudging resentment
and mistrust cause jealousy, selfishness, and bitterness
between the siblings to surface.