A study in red and white
Cries and Whispers review
11th July 2011
The four actresses who play three sisters and their maid living in a country house at the end of the 19th century are all exceptional in this intimate chamber work. Two of the sisters are helpless as the third follows an agonising path towards death and only the maid seems to provide any real comfort to her.
In Cries and Whispers Bergman explores many of his usual themes such as faith, betrayal and death. However, although there are hints of some of his earlier films, for example Winter Light and Persona, the interior decor with its saturated reds and the women often being dressed all in white make this work seem very different visually. Brief outdoor scenes depicting happier times provide respite from the often oppressive mood in the manor house.
Although viewing is sometimes very uncomfortable one is quickly drawn into the unfolding drama. This is one of Bergmans most successful films, both critically and commercially and so even those who are less keen on Bergmans films will find much to admire in Cries and Whispers.