Sunday 16 May 2010
Cries and Whispers 
In Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s timeless classic Anand, Amitabh Bachchan’s character quoted, “Death, you are a poem.” In Cries and Whispers, Swedish master Ingmar Bergman created a solemn and melancholic yet spellbinding poetry on the otherwise morbid subject of death. The frail Agnes, who is afflicted with cancer, in on deathbed at her palatial manor house, and her continual suffering forms the unlikely bridge between her estranged sisters – the suicidal and tortured Karin, and the shallow and cold Maria. Meanwhile Agnes is taken care of by her motherly maid, Anna, with undying love and devotion. All the three ladies serving the whimpering and dying Agnes, have had unpleasant brushes with death, and lead deeply scarred existences, though carefully masked by misleading, sociable veneers. Intense grief, pain, sexual repression and skeletons in one’s closet form the principal themes of this tragic, albeit lushly beautiful, human drama. Though visually enthralling – expressionistic compositions, colours and imageries play far greater roles than mere words, the film can be emotionally distressing for most viewers, and the slow pacing is as unsparing as it gets. This deeply personal tale benefited from a great cast, with especially stupendous and devastating performances by Ingrid Thulin, Liv Ullman and Harriet Andersson.
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Family Drama