cries and whispers analysis

In his volume Images: My Life in Film, Bergman finds these words to speak of Cries and Whispers: “I believe that the film—or whatever it is—consists of this poem: a human being dies but, as in a nightmare, gets stuck halfway through and pleads for tenderness, mercy, deliverance . This is its mode of operation. Sven Nykvist’s cinematography in the film is exquisite, with each frame being full of meaning, while also looking effortless. Bergman uses flashbacks into the lives of the women, beginning and ending them with full frames of deep red, then fading into or out of closeups where their faces are half-illuminated. Anna’s ever-repressed emotions are the comforting foil to Agnes’ intense outbursts of pain, and the forward manner of Maria’s sexuality contends with Karin’s loathing of the subject. The shots are filmed so closely the faces fill the frame and we see the small moves as Agnes and Anna yield to each other, as the film holds their touch, their breath. The suicidal, hate-filled Karin represents Bergman’s worst failure in the movie. Agnes is only consoled in her dying by the physical presence of the motherly Anna who gives solace and grace with the warmth of her body. – by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan, TOM SEGURA: DISGRACEFUL (2018) – FULL TRANSCRIPT, BERT KREISCHER: SECRET TIME (2018) – FULL TRANSCRIPT, JOHN MULANEY: NEW IN TOWN (2012) – FULL TRANSCRIPT. Bergman felt the color red reflects the interior of the soul. Then she blows out the candle and takes a healthy bite out of an apple (with perfect timing, intercepting some juice before it can fall). The people I'm most fond of in the world were with me. Anna’s keepsake is Agnes’ gratitude in the face of pain and death. Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project No. The one who is untouched in this critique is Anna, who is a calm, pure presence. Who knows how we would react if someone came back from the dead? B.B. It is all one enveloping death fantasy; the invisible protagonist, Ingmar Bergman, is the presence we feel throughout, and he is the narrator. It is an affirmation of life told through death. The dreamer, fascinated, is excluded from what he observes, like the staring, obsessed boy in Persona. Bergman speaks to the levels upon which Cries and Whispers (1972) works. They are women as the Other, women as the mysterious, sensual goddesses of male fantasy. Agnes (Harriet Andersson) has cancer of the womb. In truth, the language of the film is defined through its cinematography, not by its literal words. Her childhood memories unfold into a scene of a magic lantern show on Twelfth Night where she is tortured by her mother’s closeness with Maria, their whispering and laughing together, their likeness (Ullmann plays both the mother and the adult Maria). Toward the end of the film there is an extraordinary dream sequence in which the dead Agnes asks first one sister and then another to hold her and comfort her. He moves cautiously in the world of his craft and walks the razor's edge between mind and intuition. Here is what we discover about Homo sapiens. “Don’t ask me why it must be so, because I don’t know,” he went on. Its achievement, making it emerge from Bergman’s extraordinary corpus as unique, is in its incandescent touching of love and horror in their fullest extremes. In his author’s note to the Expressionist A Dream Play (which Ingmar Bergman staged with great success in 1970), Strindberg wrote: The author has sought to reproduce the disconnected but apparently logical form of a dream. The film moves with such eerie slow grace that it almost smothers its own faults and absurdities. Each sister represents a different aspect of woman, as in Munch’s “The Dance of Life,” in which a man dances with a woman in red (passion) while a woman in white (innocence) and a woman in black (corruption, death) look on. In almost every scene you’re aware of bodies and parts of bodies, of the quality of Liv Ull-mann’s skin and the miniature worlds in the dying woman’s brilliant eyes. ever since my childhood I have pictured the inside of the soul as a moist membrane in shades of red." Spirituality & Practice. Another flashback shows the child Agnes peering through lace as she observes her mother, a primal scene for the film: “She sat in her white dress in the red drawing room.” The mother calls to Agnes and gives her a look “so full of sorrow” that the child nearly cries. Get info about new releases, essays and interviews on the Current, Top 10 lists, and sales. She breathes in the scent of a pale rose, holding it pressed to her face, and the film cuts from its luminous cream petals to shots of her mother walking in sunshine in the gardens. He shows us their flaws, but then points the mirror towards us, almost daring the characters to find the flaws in ourselves. “I think of the inside of the human soul,” Bergman writes in his screenplay, “as a membranous red.” The women are all dressed in old-fashioned floor-length white dresses or bedclothes, except after Agnes dies, when Karin and Maria change to black. We come to understand them better only as we visit their past through elaborate, theatrical flashbacks that don’t necessarily reveal “what went wrong”, but shed light on who these women are and who they became outside their family home. Cries and Whispers, more than the average film, asks the viewer to interrogate the images it presents in light of what we hear and the synthesis of meaning achieved, therein. Anna’s faith is the faith of a child, perfect, without questions, and he envies it. Other chaotic artists (Lorca, for example, in his dream play If Five Years Pass) haven’t been respected in the same way as Bergman, because their temperaments weren’t moralistic. Andersson, Thulin, Ullmann, and Sylwan perform with consummate ensemble brilliance. During a pivotal time for Black cinema, John Berry’s beautifully lived-in drama offered a portrait of an African American family that stood in opposition to a long history of harmful stereotypes. Released in 1972, the film is the epitome of everything Bergman: it has tortured characters dealing with their mortality, it’s set in a lavish estate where material considerations are unimportant when compared to emotional poverty, and it centers itself on women who continuously fascinated and haunted Bergman. When Agnes dies, the scenes of the preparation of her body remind us of Biblical account of the women who took Christ down from the cross, and her cries of pain seem to ask the father why he has forsaken her. The dying Agnes is devout as well as innocent. And Anna, in her maternal virtue, is at the center of two of the film’s most lawless, unfettered scenes. Maria’s husband touches her face after she has committed adultery, and feels her guilt. We see her so in love with herself, in Bergman’s words, “completely absorbed by her own beauty.” In the delineation of her moral flaws physically writ, there is a reflection of Bergman’s harsh, near-sadistic strategies in the film, of his remorseless vision of his characters’ errors. Oceans of Slumber thrive with their progressive doom, grind legends Napalm Death make an explosive return, and Anna von Hausswolff's ambient record are just some of September's highlights. Bergman offers an image of exposure, of laying bare, of closeness, that is at once peculiarly soothing, beautiful, erotic, and unbearable. At her bedside are her sisters, Maria (Liv Ullmann), for Bergman “the most beautiful one,” and Karin (Ingrid Thulin), “the strongest one,” and the family servant, Anna (Kari Sylwan), “the serving one.” In its structure, as it moves its focus among the three sisters and their servant, and as it summons incursive episodes from the past, Cries and Whispers uses the deathbed, mortality, as a turning point in the characters’ lives, a moment of judgment. “All of my films can be thought of in terms of black and white, except Cries and Whispers.” - Ingmar Bergman. The Criterion Collection has reissued Cries and Whispers in a luxurious DVD set which includes a new 2K digital restoration, an introduction by the director, new interviews with Harriet Andersson, a new essay by filmmaker kogonada, a sumptuous interview with Bergman and collaborator Erland Josephson, a trailer, and an essay by Emma Wilson. Anna, by contrast, comes close. Even the dead Agnes’s hands reach up to touch and to hold. She is the only one who contains all the answers to her questions, the eternal paradox of being alive, for nobody can solve our existential problems for us. Cries and Whispers feels like a nineteenth-century European masterwork in a twentieth-century art form. In turning the camera on himself, even in his most vulnerable moments as a sick and dying man, filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs demonstrated the futility of divorcing the personal from the political. Cries and Whispers has oracular power, and many people feel that when something grips them strongly it must be realistic; they may not want to recognize that being led into a dreamworld can move them so much. It is the advantage of the dream-play form that these two scenes appear to belong here, and people don’t have to puzzle about them afterward, as they did with comparable passages in, say, The Silence. Agnes (Harriet Andersson) has been gripped by illness for twelve years. Touching becomes a ritual of soul-searching, and Karin, whose soul has been rotted away, is, of course, the one who fears contact, and the one who violates the graceful ballet by — unforgivably — slapping Anna. Like Persona before it, Cries and Whispers was one of those films that seemed to throw Bergman’s vision into focus. For him there are no secrets, no incongruities, no scruples, and no law. The film began for Bergman as a recurring space: a room draped all in red, with women clad in white. Cries and Whispers features long scenes in which the camera scans the faces of Liv Ullmann and Ingrid Thulin as they talk and touch and kiss (scenes similar to the ones that led some people to assume that the sisters in The Silence were meant to be Lesbians); the camera itself may be part of the inspiration for these scenes, and perhaps some male fantasy of Sisterhood Is Powerful. For a moment, their melancholy brought everyone peace. And hers is not the only suffering in Ingmar Bergman’s nineteenth century mansion-house of pain. In her spontaneous cries of pain for assistance, Agnes calls out for Anna instead of her sisters. She was a very warm and a very cold woman. The second scene comes after Agnes has died and woken again into the distressed, unnatural half life that is the film’s miracle and horror. It is in this film that Bergman confronts most directly, most movingly, questions of facing death that preoccupy so many of his films. Red is the color in the forefront of every scene, especially within the manor.

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