MoFo Movie Club April: Cries and Whispers

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The Movie Forums Podcast - 3/24/14
Movie Club: Cries and Whispers (1972)



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We're trying something new this time around. Yoda, Daniel M, and I participated in a podcast about the Movie Club film in order to jumpstart conversation (and Yoda and I thought it would be a good way to start getting more media to represent the site). Let us know what you think, and of course, your reactions to what was said, things we missed, corrections, complaints, anything but flaming bags of poo. Enjoy.


- Redout


- Look at the wrinkles in your face


- Pieta



I just remembered something, when Yoda mentions the resurrection being fake, it was probably a reference to Ordet, which would add a lot to the ending, it being the only fantasy "of this realm."



Finished here. It's been fun.
Listening to the discussion right now, very interesting. You guys did a great job.



Downloading right now

My thoughts from when I watched it:
Cries and Whispers (1972)
The underlying color of this notorious Ingmar Bergman film was red. Red, as in the red associated with blood, anguish,envy,Satan, anyways it's not a blissful color. Ingmar Bergman concentrated on it, and planted it all around. Harriet Andersson who play the ill Agnes, put up a terrifyingly real and brutal performance. Her agony was always with us. The heavy breathing scene left me stiff to the inner marrow of my bones. The film was as gruesome as it was delicate, perfectly paced and raw to the core.



I love it, a masterpiece from a great director. I'll try to watch it again soon.
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Yeah, there's no body mutilation in it



I don't wanna listen to wintertriangles. Is there an edited version?



I just remembered something, when Yoda mentions the resurrection being fake, it was probably a reference to Ordet, which would add a lot to the ending, it being the only fantasy "of this realm."
When we were doing the podcast I forgot to mentioned about this as I know you are/were doing the same Scandinavian film/TV course on coursera as me, and I know you did the week with Dreyer and Ordet, and there was a week on Bergman, and I did think about the two of them. If I do it again I am definitely making notes.

Also Fanny and Alexander has the similar fantasy elements that you just accept I guess, when the kids escape, and of course the ending.



I love it, a masterpiece from a great director. I'll try to watch it again soon.
I love that right after you praise the film is the following signature:

Yeah, there's no body mutilation in it
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Yeah, I didn't really love it either, raul, though it probably sounds on the podcast like I did. I was just more interested in exploring what it meant than really critiquing it. I think it's tricky that way in that it probably accomplishes its goals, whether you think much of those goals or not.



Finished here. It's been fun.
Here's my short review on Cries and Whispers:

Horrifying and endlessly disturbing. An uncomfortable look at sisters who cant stand to be around one another. Bergman shows us women who are unable to give their dying sister any comfort, only being there for "show". They feign sadness and empathy, when all they care about is themselves. As Agnes is slowly dying away, only her maid Anna is truly be her side to comfort her. If there are moments of warmth between the sisters, it is very short-lived.

I feel the emphasis on red lends the film a almost eerie quality.Basically Bergman's vision of hell. This is a raw,pulsing film that while very difficult will definitely yield at least one more watch from me. It elicited a powerful reaction from me, especially the film's haunting final scene where we hear Agnes' poignant narration. A sharp contrast to the reality of the events which we see in the film.

Bergman knows how to hit the viewer where it hurts.




I listened to the whole thing. Nice discussion. I would be more interested to hear a discussion on Persona though, which is way more abstract and difficult. To me, Cries and Whispers is like a Woody Allen film if you compare these two.



Finished here. It's been fun.
Persona is much more abstract and ambiguous, but I found it a much easier to watch than C&W personally.



. Bergman shows us women who are unable to give their dying sister any comfort, only being there for "show". They feign sadness and empathy, when all they care about is themselves. As Agnes is slowly dying away, only her maid Anna is truly be her side to comfort her.
Interesting point, a comparison can be brought to last years film August:Osage County, which I do not recommend, where the caretaker provides the most attention to the well being of the family.

I listened to the whole thing. Nice discussion. I would be more interested to hear a discussion on Persona though, which is way more abstract and difficult. To me, Cries and Whispers is like a Woody Allen film if you compare these two.
I agree that Persona is far more complex, Cries & Whispers is my second favorite Bergman though. Woody Allen had deep admiration for Bergman and often tried to imitate Bergman's atmosphere in his films.



Gangster Rap is Shakespeare for the Future
I listened to the whole thing. Nice discussion. I would be more interested to hear a discussion on Persona though, which is way more abstract and difficult. To me, Cries and Whispers is like a Woody Allen film if you compare these two.
Woody Allen would take that as a huge compliment
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Mubi



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
I love that right after you praise the film is the following signature:
Yeah, there's no body mutilation in it.
I was originally referring to Nausicaš of the Valley of the Wind, an obvious sequel to Cries and Whispers.

People may be sick of this post, but here goes.

Cries and Whispers (Ingmar Bergman, 1972)




Bergman's striking study of a dysfunctional family and how it relates to most any and perhaps all families is worthy of the attention of any serious filmwatcher. The thing to remember is that you need to be serious to be able to get the most out of this film because there is very little in the way of lightness to be found. The heaviness of the subject matter could wear some viewers down, but the acting is quite tremendous, as are the set design and costumes which basically fall into a black and white and red all over the walls, curtains, carpets, furniture, clothes, etc. In fact, it's rather appropriate that the manor most of the film takes place at is so full of red since red is the color of blood, and blood represents both life and death. The eldest sister Agnes (Harriet Andersson) is suffering incredible pain as she awaits death, attended to by her married sisters Karin (Ingrid Thulin) and Maria (Liv Ullmann), as well as her loving housekeeper Anna (Kari Sylwan). Eventually, all the sisters recall earlier times in their life when they were both seemingly happier and suffered and/or inflicted pain upon their loved ones, whether imaginary (still emotionally painful) or real.



Eventually, Agnes dies and is put out of her misery, but this just causes all the other main characters to recall or imagine the most intense experiences of their lives, and flashbacks again seem to fill all the characters' hearts and minds. Aside from the memorable color design, Cries and Whispers isn't that different from the intense psychodramas which Bergman was creating on an almost yearly basis. True, this one is probably easier to decipher than most, at least until the third and final act turns into a bona fide horror film and the corpse of Agnes attempts to make peace with her sisters from beyond the grave. This contains the soul of the movie, as well as the way the characters are shown to be able to weave around against each other almost like snakes.



No matter how cold, ruthless and bitterly-honest the film paints the human condition, it's the end of the film which shines an almost hopeful light on how people can attempt to relate to each other. It seems that it's only through the clarity of one's pain that someone can realize how well they have it here on earth, even with your family members who would rather just fight and nag at you over trivialities. You see, under the right conditions, everyone can be at peace and in love with everything and everyone. It's just that most people are too busy "living" to be kind, considerate and downright happy. The simple power of this film is that it takes a voice from the grave, of one who has let go of earthly pain and vanity, to remind those living and left behind how truly beautiful life can be if we only just experience it rather than worry over it. The film's actual ending is one of the most beautiful of any Bergman film, no matter how much suffering it takes to reach it.

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