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Cries and Whispers (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on April 18, 2015

I’ll be honest (I don’t know why I feel the need to preface with that… aren’t I always honest?), I don’t really know what to say about this movie, or even quite how I feel about it.  Perhaps it’s too bleak to properly process on a sunny Saturday afternoon.  Although it ends on a moment of happiness, the rest of it is a painful cry for comfort.  The video essay on Criterion’s new Blu-Ray release helped open up the film a little for me, especially in pointing out how essential touching is as a conveyance of affection.  Agnes begs to be touched, Karin does it reluctantly while Maria recoils in horror… although Maria also caresses Karin when she’s begging not to be touched.  Only Anna, the servant, provides the sensual, maternal relief of touch that Agnes so desperately craves.

It’s a movie that I respect immensely for its artistic expression — the musical structure, the bold use of the color, the expert performances — and I continue to find new depths in it.  But it’s not a film I hold close to my heart, it’s not one I relish watching.  Especially not the glass scene, my vote for the most disturbing thing Bergman ever shot.  Rating: Very Good (84)

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