Close Up

17 - 29 November 2018: Cries and Whispers


Cries and Whispers
Ingmar Bergman
1973 | 91 min | Colour | Digital
Swedish, German & Danish with English subtitles

Liv Ullmann, Harriet Andersson and Ingrid Thulin deliver a trio of career-highlight performances as repressed upper-class siblings in this abstracted chamber drama, one of Bergman’s most representative and celebrated of films. After opening on a brief series of ghostly establishing shots outside the sisters’ rural estate, Cries and Whispers plunges without reprieve into the deathly-quiet interior of the manor, which, with its blood-red walls and cavernous rooms, might as well be the core of the human heart. Inside, Andersson’s Agnes endures the final days of a debilitating cancer while her sisters and housekeeper (Kari Sylwan, in a performance as indelible as those of her seasoned peers) anxiously fend off the inevitable. Unfolding in soul-baring extreme close-ups against a soundscape of hushed breathing, ticking clocks and eerie room tone, the film proceeds under a spell of agonized languor in which the tiniest nuances in performance generate tectonic shifts in feeling and mood. Clearly the work of a fully matured director in confident command of his particular language, Cries and Whispers remains a film of remarkable emotional intimacy and confrontational power.” – Harvard Film Archive

Part of our season on Ingmar Bergman