Cries and Whispers (Ingmar Bergman – 1967) A

Red, this is one hell of a red movie. Apparently this was one of the first Bergman films in color and since red was very difficult to get right he just put it all over the place to make the cinematographer’s job that much more difficult. It’s a stark movie about family connections and deep buried secrets told like a piece of chamber music in three movements centering on three women around the turn of the century. At the center is a fourth one who is dying. Two are her sisters and the third is her maid. The entire film takes place in an old mansion with those red rooms. We get to know the sisters and their husbands and lovers and stories in flashbacks. We learn about the maid and how close she was to her mistress. These are not happy people though. They are broken and have a lot of sharp edges. It shows when they are all gathered under the one roof waiting for their sister to die. Bergman goes all out with the his trademark visual flourishes and style. We get lots of face close-ups, darkness and shadows and all that red. It’s a powerful and memorable film on all levels.

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