Cries and Whispers

Cries and Whispers is a 1972 Swedish period drama film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman and starring Harriet Andersson, Kari Sylwan, Ingrid Thulin and Liv Ullmann. The film, set in a mansion at the end of the 19th century, is about three sisters and a servant who struggle with the terminal cancer of one of the sisters (Andersson). The servant (Sylwan) is close to her, while the other two sisters (Ullmann and Thulin) confront their emotional distance from each other.


In a large 19th-century mansion with red walls and carpets, Agnes is dying of uterine cancer. Her sisters, Maria and Karin, arrive at their childhood home and take turns with the maid, Anna, watching over Agnes. Anna, more religious than the sisters, prays after she lost her young daughter. When Agnes' doctor David visits, he sees his former lover Maria. Maria remembers their affair and her failed marriage with her husband Joakim, who stabbed himself non-fatally in response to the adultery. David tells her that she has become more indifferent. Agnes remembers their mother, who neglected and teased her and favoured Maria, with greater understanding and recalls sharing a moment of sorrow with her. While Agnes' sisters remain emotionally distant, Anna comforts the suffering Agnes by baring her breasts and holding her at night.