39. “Cries and Whispers”, Ingmar Bergman (1972)

Part of The 100 Greatest Movies I’ve Ever Seen list.

Cries and Whispers.jpg

Cries and Whispers aka Viskningar och rop 

dir. Ingmar Bergman scr. Ingmar Bergman cin. Sven Nykvist with Harriet Andersson, Kari Sylwan, Ingrid Thulin, Liv Ullmann

In 100 words: No film on this list has disturbed me quite as much as this, the nastiest and most emotionally violent movie that Bergman has ever made. His characters inflict such wretched emotional torment on each other throughout the picture, as two sisters watch a third sister die. Bergman frequently flashes back to a period in the three sisters’ lives where they exhibited abhorrent behavior to hurt themselves and those around them, revealing just how broken the family is. The vivid use of reds and blacks, its frequent close-ups of faces, and silences punctuated by bells heighten the stinging experience of watching.

Other Movies for Context: Is there any movie by Bergman that reaches the heights of this one in terms of its portrayal of a family? The closest I can think of from what I’ve seen is the great Fanny and Alexander (1983), which portrays a more loving film that’s broken by experience.

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