Cries and Whispers

“I can’t take it! Can’t anyone help me? I can’t take it! Help me!”

Starting with an image dreamed of four women in white in a red room, Ingmar Bergman was able to build the story that became his film Cries and Whispers. The film would go on to become one of his most successful films, certainly the highest-grossing film of his released in the US. But Bergman said it’s very hard to say anything about this film, so clearly the film was enigmatic to him, and perhaps made intentionally that way as well, so does it make sense that so many people (including us now) have taken to analyzing his film? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Foreign Language Films Nominated for Best Picture series with Bergman’s 1973 film Cries and Whispers.

We talk about the struggle we both have with Bergman’s films, even acknowledging that his films are full of art and intention, and how that shapes our thoughts on the film. We look at the use of the color red throughout the film, how it can be interpreted, and why it may be analytically problematic to use is so pervasively. We also chat about Sven Nykvist’s challenges to capture so much red on film stock at the time. We discuss the performances of the actors here and look at how great they all are. And we look at some of the theories about the film and debate if we can pull much from them.

It’s a tough film to watch but an impeccably constructed film. We have a great conversation about it on this week’s show, so check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

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Ingmar Bergman