Cries and Whispers

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Cries and Whispers
Swedish theatrical release poster
Directed by Ingmar Bergman
Produced by Lars-Owe Carlberg
Written by Ingmar Bergman
Starring Harriet Andersson
Kari Sylwan
Ingrid Thulin
Liv Ullmann
Inga Gill
Erland Josephson
Narrated by Ingmar Bergman
Music by Johann Sebastian Bach
Frédéric Chopin
Cinematography Sven Nykvist
Edited by Siv Lundgren
Release date
  • 21 December 1972 (1972-12-21) (United States)
  • 5 March 1973 (1973-03-05) (Sweden)
Running time
91 minutes[2]
Country Sweden
Language Swedish
Budget $450,000[3]
Box office SEK 2,130,705 (Sweden)
$1.5 million (U.S.)[4]

Cries and Whispers (Swedish: Viskningar och rop, lit. 'Whispers and Cries') is a 1972 Swedish historical period drama film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman and starring Harriet Andersson, Kari Sylwan, Ingrid Thulin and Liv Ullmann. The film is set at a mansion at the end of the 19th century and is about three sisters and a servant, struggling through the prolonged suffering of one of the sisters (Andersson), who has terminal cancer. The servant (Sylwan) is close to her, while the other two sisters (Ullmann and Thulin) confront their emotional distance towards each other.

Inspired by Bergman's mother Karin Åkerblom and his basic vision of four women inhabiting red room, Cries and Whispers was shot at Taxinge-Näsby Castle in 1971. It follows themes of faith, the female psyche, and the search for meaning in suffering. Academics have also interpreted it as containing Biblical allusions. Unlike previous Bergman films, it uses saturated colour, especially crimson.

After premiering in the United States, distributed by Roger Corman and New World Pictures, the film had a Swedish theatrical release and screened out of competition at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival. Following two unsuccessful films by Bergman, Cries and Whispers was a critical and commercial success. It received five Academy Award nominations including one for Best Picture, which was rare for a foreign-language film. Cinematographer Sven Nykvist won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography and Cries and Whispers also won the Guldbagge Award for Best Film and other honours.

The film inspired stage adaptations by Ivo van Hove and Andrei Șerban and influenced later cinema. It was also commemorated in Swedish postage stamps referencing a scene in which Andersson and Sylwan replicate Pietà.


In a large 19th-century mansion, lined with red walls and carpetry, Agnes is nearing death due to cancer. Her sisters Maria and Karin arrive to the mansion and their childhood home, and take turns with the maid Anna watching over Agnes. Anna is more religious, praying after having lost her own daughter at an early age. While Agnes' sisters remain emotionally distant, Anna provides more comfort to Agnes, bearing her breasts and holding her in the night as Agnes continues to suffer. While Agnes' doctor David visits, he sees Maria, who he had a sexual relationship with. Maria remembers their affair juxtaposed with her failed marriage to her ineffectual husband; David tells Maria that she has grown more indifferent. Agnes also remembers their mother, who could be cruel in teasing Agnes while treating Maria as her favourite, but Agnes feels she can now understand their mother better, and recalls sharing a moment of sadness with her.

After a long period of intense pain, Agnes dies, and during her wake the priest declares Agnes' faith was stronger than his own. Maria opens up to Karin, declaring it unusual that they will not touch each other or have any type of deep conversation. She tries to touch Karin, who recoils at the gesture. Karin struggles with self-harm, self-mutilating her sexual organs to drive her husband away. Later, she has dinner with Maria, noting Anna was devoted to Agnes and perhaps deserves a memento. Karin also reveals she resents that Anna acts so familiar with her and Maria now, admits her suicidal tendencies, and then declares she hates Maria for her flirtatious nature and shallow smiles. The two sisters reconcile after the argument, by touching each other.

In what may be a dream, Agnes seemingly returns to life for a short moment and asks to see Karin and then Maria, asking each to come close to her. Karin rejects the beckon, saying it is repulsive, that she still has her life, and that she does not love Agnes enough to join her. Maria draws nearer to Agnes, but when the undead Agnes grabs her, Maria flees in terror, saying she cannot forsake her husband and children.

The family opts to send Anna away after the end of the month, with Anna announcing she will not take her promised memento. Maria also leaves to see her husband Joakim, while Karin is incredulous that Maria claims she does not remember them touching. Anna discovers Agnes' diary, in which she writes of a visit with Maria and Karin along with Anna, and they share a nostalgic moment on a swing. Agnes wrote that despite what will happen, this is true happiness.


The cast includes:[5]



The dress Ingrid Thulin wore as Karin. The white dresses against red background was key to the conception.

For the story, Bergman claimed the genesis was visions he had while living, in a lonely and sad time, on Fårö, and writing constantly.[6] He described a dream he frequently had in which four women wore white clothing in a red room, whispering to each other. He also said that this symbolized his childhood view of the soul, as a faceless person black on the outside, representing shame, and red in the inside.[7] The fact that the vision stayed with him signaled to him it could be a film, he said.[6] He also planned a "portrait of my mother ... the great beloved of my childhood".[7] The character Karin has the same name as Bergman's real-life mother,[8] but all four female protagonists are meant to represent different aspects of her personality.[9]

Another childhood memory also informed the story concept, with Bergman recalled exploring the Sophiahemmet mortuary:

The young girl who had just been treated lay on a wooden table in the middle of the floor. I pulled back the sheet and exposed her. She was quite naked apart from a plaster that ran from throat to pudenda. I lifted a hand and touched her shoulder. I had heard about the chill of death, but the girl’s skin was not cold but hot. I moved my hand to her breast, which was small and slack with an erect black nipple. There was dark down on her abdomen. She was breathing.[10]

Bergman's films were difficult to market commercially and thus foreign capital was not available to finance the film. Bergman then decided to shoot the film in Swedish and not in English, like his previous film The Touch, and to finance Cries and Whispers through his own production company, Cinematograph. Although he used personal savings of 750,000 SEK and loans of 200,000 SEK, he also had to ask the Swedish Film Institute for support with the 1.5 million SEK budget, to some criticism, as Bergman was not an up-and-coming director in the most need of subsidies.[11][12] To save costs, the main actresses and Nykvist gave their salary as a loan and were nominally co-producers.[13]

In his book Images, Bergman wrote: "Today I feel that in Persona—and later in Cries and Whispers—I had gone as far as I could go. And that in these two instances when working in total freedom, I touched wordless secrets that only the cinema can discover".[14] In an essay with the DVD, critic Peter Cowie also quotes the director: "All of my films can be thought of in terms of black and white, except Cries and Whispers".[15]


When composing the screenplay, Bergman intended from the outset to cast Liv Ullmann and Ingrid Thulin. He explained his choice for Harriet Andersson for Agnes, saying "I would very much like to have Harriet, too, since she belongs to this breed of enigmatic women".[11] Andersson had not worked with Bergman for years, when he sent her notes rather than a complete screenplay.[16] Ullmann described what she received as a 50-page "personal letter" describing the story with the introduction "Dear Friends: We're now going to make a film together. It is a sort of a vision that I have and I will try to describe it".[17] Andersson did not receive a backstory on Agnes; the character's sisters were married with children, but Andersson expressed uncertainty if Agnes ever was married, or if she began experiencing illness at an early age and only lived with her mother.[16]

Bergman and Ullmann were in a romantic relationship, and their daughter, Linn Ullmann, appears as Maria's daughter,[18] as well as Anna's daughter in the photograph.[19] Another of Bergman's daughters, Lena, also appears, as young Maria.[11]

Initially, Bergman said he hoped for Mia Farrow to be in the film, saying "let's see if that works out. It probably will; why shouldn't it?" Farrow was never actually cast.[11] Kari Sylwan, a novice to Bergman's films, afterwards took what would have been Farrow's role.[20]


The film was shot at Taxinge-Näsby Castle outside Mariefred.

Few of Bergman's previous films were shot in colour, and red was particularly sensitive. Cinematographer Sven Nykvist performed many photography tests to capture balanced combinations of red, whites and skin colours.[6] To great disappointment from members of the Swedish Film Institute, Bergman rejected shooting on any of their new, costly studios, filming entirely on location both inside and outside of Taxinge-Näsby Castle.[20][21] The inside of Taxinge-Näsby Mansion was deteriorated, so the crew was free to paint and decorate as they saw fit.[20]

Principal photography took place from 9 September to 30 October 1971.[20] Throughout shooting, Nykvist used Eastmancolor film, which reduced grain effects and would be the most sensitive to colours.[22] The final swing scene was shot early in production, given that it takes place outside and that the filmmakers hoped to make use of sunlight before the darker season set in.[20] Ullmann said that every scene was shot in natural light, using large windows for indoor scenes.[17]

Andersson described the shooting, saying the mood on the set was kept light since the subject matter was heavy. She also said that, though her habit during productions was to read the screenplay and then retire for sleep early in the night, the filmmakers kept her awake until late hours to add to her tired and ill appearance during shoots.[16] She modeled her death scene on the death of her father, while Bergman instructed the deep and violent inhalations.[16]

Themes and interpretations[edit]

Previous Bergman films had focused on the apparent absence of God. However, scholar Julian C. Rice quoted Bergman as saying he had moved past that theme, and Rice asserted that Cries and Whispers, following The Silence and Persona, was based more in psychology and individuation.[23] Academic Eva Rueschmann argued psychoanalysis was an obvious tool to study the film, given the subject of unconscious links between characters.[24]

Family and detachment[edit]

Hansel and Gretel by Ludwig Richter; the fairy tale is used to suggest familial abandonment.

Professor Egil Törnqvist considered why the film was titled Cries and Whispers, observing "whispers" are mentioned when the young Maria whispers to her mother, and Karin and Maria whisper to each other as they bond. Törnqvist wrote "The cries relate to the opposite emotions: anguish, impotence, loneliness".[25][n 1] Professor Emma Wilson commented on the fictional family's predicament, with Karin feeling endangered by touching and Maria actively seeking "erotic" touch. However, Maria is repelled by Agnes' decay and the idea of her dead body.[27] Rueschmann explained Karin's repulsion to touch as being the result of her experiencing the most isolation and repression.[28] The scene where Anna cradles Agnes also suggests touch and physical sensations are soothing, though there is also the "opaque" question of Anna and Agnes' relationship, which may be comparable to sisterhood.[27]

The magic lantern show that the sisters enjoy is a telling of Hansel and Gretel, which reveals Agnes' feelings of being abandoned while her mother favours Maria; the Brothers Grimm story also contrasts the film's sister characters being estranged, Rueschmann wrote.[29][n 2] Cinema historian P. Adams Sitney added Hansel and Gretel's parents abandoned them in the forest, which holds symbolism, and that Agnes' cancer becomes the equivalent of the witch in the Brothers Grimm tale.[32] Karin cutting her own vulva means her husband will not have sex with her, with red wine also matching the blood of the womb. Törnqvist also argues the fact that Karin adds the blood from her womb to her mouth means that she will neither have sex nor speak, and that preventing communication reinforces perpetual loneliness.[33] Sitney wrote the family is most united when reading The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens, which is significant since it tells of "male solidarity and chicanery, threatened by female plots for marriage".[34]

After Agnes' funeral, detachment returns, author Frank Gado wrote. Anna is dismissed without warmth or sympathy, and the men cheaply deny her monetary rewards despite years of service. Maria also rejects "sentimental appeals" from Karin, Gado observed.[35]

Film scholar Marc Gervais asserted this film provides no definitive solution as to whether the anguish and death has any meaning, citing the pastor who expresses his own doubts and fears while eulogizing Agnes. Gervais analogized this to the protagonist of Bergman's earlier Winter Light, Begman's own conflicted feelings, and his relationhip to his father, Erik, who was a minister of the Church of Sweden.[36] However, the ending provides Bergman's personal solution, that a touch in certain occasions can make life worthwhile, Gervais hypothesized.[37] Törnqvist compared the ending to that of Bergman's Wild Strawberries, saying it "points to the past, to a paradisaic existence in this life, to the communion inherent in childhood that has later been lost".[25]

Sex and gender roles[edit]

Critic Marco Lanzagorta wrote "Undeniably, Cries and Whispers is a film about the world of women, and is very open in terms of the gender and sexual politics that it portrays".[38] The story also fits the motif in Bergman's filmography of "warring women", seen earlier in The Silence and Persona and later Autumn Sonata.[39] The film inspired essays discussing views of women in Bergman's filmography.[40] Author Patricia Erens wrote "Bergman's women in such films as Persona and Cries and Whispers are not simply objects of abuse, but creatures through whom Bergman can express his own subjective fears, his many frustrations and failures at preserving autonomy of self and control of reality".[41]

Feminists critiqued the film.[40] In Film Quarterly, Joan Mellen acknowledged that Bergman used his female characters as his mouthpieces for his personal perspectives, and that his women signify "the dilemma of alienated, suffering human beings".[42] Women and men in Bergman's filmography both fail to find answers to their dilemmas, with Mellen writing the men are simply unanswered or cannot care for anyone but themselves. However, she asserted that Bergman's women fail because of their biology, and because they cannot move past their sexuality. As Mellen elaborated, "Bergman insists that because of their physiology, women are trapped in dry and empty lives within which they wither as the lines begin to appear on their faces".[42] Critic Molly Haskell argued Cries and Whispers fell into Bergman's later filmography, which differed from his earlier work in their view of women. Women in the early films lived in harmony with each other and enjoyed more complete lives, while Bergman used the women in Cries and Whispers and other films as "projections of his soul", revealing his "sexual vanity", she wrote.[43] Haskell asserted Bergman attacked his female characters for the very attributes he assigned to them, namely Karin's repression and Maria's sexuality.[43]

In contrast, academic Laura Hubner found merit in the argument, articulated earlier by Varda Burstyn, that while Cries and Whispers depicts the suppression of women, that is not the same thing as endorsing this suppression, and that the film actually opposes patriarchy.[44] Rueschmann traced the emotional estrangement to the women's mother, who, under gender roles of the time's patriarchy, was minimized to a position where she reacts with "boredom, anger and frustration". Rueschmann argued her three daughters, in turn, assume her position, or reject it, and harm themselves in the process.[45] The fact that Agnes is confined to bed may also reflect gender roles, and expectation of women regarding sex, bearing children, and dying, Rueschmann hypothesized.[46] Author Birgitta Steene disputed what she referred to as Mellen's Marxist feminist analysis, cross-referencing Bergman's realistic and metaphorical films to argue they are not the product of a sexist outlook.[40]

Bergman personally declared that his "ceaseless fascination with the whole race of women is one of [his] mainsprings. Obviously such an obsession implies ambivalence; it has something compulsive about it."[24] However, on another occasion, he doubted that there was much difference between men and women, remarking "I think that if I had made Cries and Whispers with four men in the leading roles, the story would have been largely the same".[47]

Myth and Biblical allusions[edit]

Pietà by Michelangelo. Agnes' death evokes the Passion.

Agnes' apparent resurrection may reflect either Anna's fear or desire, but Wilson remarked it blurred the lines between life and dream, and may involve supernatural activity.[48] Bergman explained the scene:

Death is the ultimate loneliness; that is what is so important. Agnes's death has been caught up halfway out into the void. I can't see that there's anything odd about that. Yes, by Christ there is! This situation has never been known, either in reality or at the movies.[33]

Törnqvist advised against a literal reading of Agnes rising from the dead, relating it to the sisters feeling guilty.[49]

From Greek mythology, Sitney wrote the statue featured in the prologue may be either Apollo or Orpheus. If the artistic and doomed Agnes matches Orpheus as well as Bergman, Agnes' mother may correspond to Eurydice, representing "the green world".[50] Sitney concluded Cries and Whispers tells of an "Orphic transformation of terror into art, of the loss of the mother into the musical richness of autumnal color".[51]

As the magic lantern is used for a telling of Hansel and Gretel, Sitney connected it with "the gift of fairy tales—and thereby the psychic-defense machinery for exteriorizing infantile and Oedipal terrors".[31] In the fairy tale of Cinderella, the wicked stepsisters' bleeding feet, a metaphor for menstruation, is magnified with Karin cutting her vulva.[52] Karin's laugh is reminiscent of the wicked witch of Hansel and Gretel, as she reacts to the damage sexuality has caused.[52]

Törnqvist, seeing Anna prays for her dead daughter while eating an apple, wrote "The eating of the apple links Anna, whose dead daughter was undoubtedly an illegitimate child, with the Eve of the Fall, with Original Sin".[53] Editor Raphael Shargel wrote Anna does not even seem to consider the sacrilege of snacking immediately after worship, and that her choice of food was the forbidden fruit.[54]

Agnes' prolonged pain and death also bear similarities to the Passion of Jesus, Törnqvist wrote.[55] Wilson compared the position of Agnes' body, arms and legs to Jesus' body following the Passion.[48] Gado also saw parallels to the crucifixion of Jesus and added there are meaningful flashbacks to Good Friday and a mention of Twelfth Night at the end, which Gado characterized as ironic since Twelfth Night is associated with revelation.[35] The "magic lantern" show also takes place on a Twelfth Night.[29] Authors described the scene where Anna cradles Agnes as a reminiscent of Pietà,[50][56][57] including Michelangelo's Pietà.[38] According to academic Arthur Gibson, the Pietà rite becomes redemption: "Anna is holding in her arms the pain and lineliness and sin of the world caught up in the innocent Divine Sufferer".[58]


Crimson features extensively in the colour scheme.

In 1972, Variety staff defined "Bergman's lean style" as including a "use of lingering close-ups, fades to red and a soundtrack echoing with the ticking of clocks, the rustle of dresses and the hushed cries of the lost".[59] Critic Richard Brody also identified it as a period piece in which costumes are prominent.[60] Gervais concluded Bergman had shed an austere approach from previous films, in favour of more aesthetics.[9]

Wilson remarked on the sights of completely red rooms, populated with women wearing white, and that "azure, Edenic images of the start are gradually engulfed in crimson".[10] Producer Bruce A. Block described the colour variety as minimal, with emphasis on "extremely saturated red".[61] Writer Richard Armstrong added the Eastmancolor added a "a livid, slightly oneiric quality".[22] In the first scene, it is revealed that two rooms, one where Maria is sleeping and Agnes' room, are joined by the same colours, including "blood red" carpets and drapes, and whites in pillows and night dresses.[62] Wilson also observed the film features fade-ins and fade-outs in saturated reds.[10] Sitney analyzed the colour scheme, arguing there is a move from red with white; to red with black; to orange and ochre, as seen in the fall weather of the final outdoor scene.[63] The blood seen, when Maria's husband injures himself, and when Karin cuts her vulva, adds red that repeats an earlier view of the mother character, when she holds a red book against her dress. Sitney associates this with symbolism of menstruation and castration.[64]

Wilson commented on other uses of imagery: statues filling a garden, decorations, sunlight on the clock, and a view of Maria revealing the "texture" of her hair.[62] The different images, one after the other, in the prologue, last five minutes with no spoken words.[26] The close-ups of Maria in the initial scene are childlike.[29] Agnes appears with an open mouth and moist eyes, depicting her pain.[65] Agnes' memories of her mother are ideal in their visuals, featuring the "flourishing greenery of the Edenic garden".[46] Surveying the visuals and the depiction of social isolation and mourning, critics Christopher Heathcote and Jai Marshall found parallels to the paintings of Edvard Munch.[66]

Johann Sebastian Bach's "Sarabande No. 5 in D Minor" is used in the film, performed by Pierre Fournier.[5] Critic Robin Wood, observing it is used when the two sisters touch affectionately, concluded it fit Bergman's general use of Bach to signify "a possible transcendent wholeness".[67][n 3] The score also employs "Mazurka in A minor, Op.17/4" by Frédéric Chopin, performed by Käbi Laretei.[5] Musicologist Alexis Luko, in observing Chopin's Mazurka is used when Anna recalls her deceased daughter, wrote it communicates "a sensory moment of reminiscence".[69]

Sounds are used in other ways, with Anna's dead daughter apparently audible at one point.[48] In the prologue, the bells and clocks are more audible than the nature sounds that preceded them, and Agnes' struggling to breathe soon join the ticking in the sound effects, with editor Ken Dancyger finding "the continuity of time and life".[26]


All major film distribution companies rejected Cries and Whispers, even when Bergman only asked for down payments of $75,000.[12] U.S. rights were bought by Roger Corman at New World Pictures, for $150,000, to which Corman spent another $80,000 in marketing.[70] Corman claimed it made $1 million in profit and that it was Bergman's biggest success in the U.S.[4] Author Tino Balio reported a U.S. gross of $1.2 million in 803 theatres, and assessed it as Bergman's best-performing film since The Silence.[70] To qualify for the 46th Academy Awards, distributors hurried to premiere Cries and Whispers in Los Angeles County, preceding by a few months the official Swedish premiere.[71] It was released in New York City on 21 December 1972.[1]

In Sweden, its premiere took place at Spegeln theatre in Stockholm on 5 March 1973.[1] Cries and Whispers was later shown out of competition at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival, where Bergman received very strong positive reactions from the audience.[71]

At the 61st Berlin International Film Festival in February 2011, Cries and Whispers was screened in the Retrospective section and Andersson was in attendance.[72][73] In 2015, The Criterion Collection published a 2K restoration on Blu-ray in Region A.[74]


Critical reception[edit]

Before the release, estimations of Bergman were lowered by his The Rite (1969) and The Touch (1971).[75] In Sweden, Svenska Dagbladet critic Åke Janzon and Dagens Nyheter critic Hanserik Hjerten assessed Cries and Whispers as a poetically rendered psychological study.[76] Critic O. Foss wrote a more negative review in Fant, calling it "a rhapsody of petrified Bergman themes".[76]

It was largely acclaimed in the United States.[76] In The New York Times, Vincent Canby called it a "magnificent, moving, and very mysterious new film".[77] Roger Ebert awarded it a full four stars in his initial review, writing, "We slip lower in our seats, feeling claustrophobia and sexual disquiet, realizing that we have been surrounded by the vision of a film maker who has absolute mastery of his art."[78] Variety staff praised the direction for "a hypnotic impact".[59] In New York, Judith Crist hailed it as "a work of genius— certainly the most complex, the most perceptive and the most humane of Bergman's works to date".[79] François Truffaut made a theatrical comparison, saying that it "begins like Chekhov's Three Sisters and ends like The Cherry Orchard and in between it's more like Strindberg".[80]

Empire critic David Parkinson awarded it five stars in 2000, concluding this fit a subset of "character study" that Bergman was adept at.[75] Reviewing the DVD in The New Yorker, Richard Brody said that despite the time setting, the emotional drama felt relatable to modern audiences.[60] In 2002, Ebert added it to his "Great Movies" list, arguing that to watch the work "is to touch the extremes of human feeling. It is so personal, so penetrating of privacy, we almost want to look away".[15] That year, James Berardinelli praised Andersson's performance as "so powerful that we feel like intruders watching it. She screams, whimpers, begs, and cries. She craves death and fears it". Berardinelli also considered the use of crimson to be effective in setting mood, noting that the "natural associations one makes with this color, especially in a story like this, are of sin and blood".[81] Aftonbladet's 2003 review by Zendry Svärdkrona praised it as a masterpiece with wonderful aesthetics but unpleasant subject matter, citing Nykvist and Andersson.[82] Emanuel Levy praised the cinematography and the performances of the female leads, hailing the result as a masterpiece in 2008.[83] Cries and Whispers ranked 154th in the British Film Institute's 2012 Sight & Sound critics' poll of the greatest films ever made.[84] In his 2014 Movie Guide, Leonard Maltin gave it three stars, complimenting the visuals but cautioning viewers about the large amount of dialogue.[85] Reviewing the Blu-ray in 2015, SF Gate critic Mick LaSalle hailed it as a "masterpiece" where the colour red had an important effect.[86] The Los Angeles Times critic Andy Klein placed it "solidly in the existential/emotional angst mode of his best work", described it as a triumphant comeback from The Touch, and joked about the resurrection scene, "Yes, technically this is a zombie film".[87]

Don Druker wrote a negative review in The Chicago Reader, finding substance lacking.[88] Time Out's review deemed it a "red herring" compared to Bergman's purer psychological dramas.[89] In Slant Magazine in 2015, Clayton Dillard expressed disappointment in Agnes' cancer not being depicted as cancer, with her showing Passion-like pain instead, and that Karin's self-harm to her vulva was not explicitly explained.[90]


In Sweden, the film won three honours at the 9th Guldbagge Awards, including Best Film.[91] At Cannes, it won the Vulcain Prize of the Technical Artist.[92] At the 46th Academy Awards, it was the fourth foreign-language films to ever be nominated for Best Picture,[n 4] with four other nominations. In the end Sven Nykvist won for Best Cinematography.[94]

Cries and Whispers won and was nominated for several other awards from critics' associations and at festivals. At the 27th British Academy Film Awards Sven Nykvist was nominated for Best Cinematography and Ingrid Thulin for Best Supporting Actress,[95] at the 30th Golden Globe Awards the film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.[96]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Academy Awards 2 April 1974 Best Picture Ingmar Bergman Nominated [94]
Best Director Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Nominated
Best Cinematography Sven Nykvist Won
Best Costume Design Marik Vos Nominated
Bodil Awards 1974 Best European Film Ingmar Bergman Won [91]
BAFTA Awards 1976 Best Cinematography Sven Nykvist Nominated [95]
Best Supporting Actress Ingrid Thulin Nominated
Cannes Film Festival 10 – 25 May 1973 Vulcain Prize of the Technical Artist Ingmar Bergman Won [92]
David di Donatello 1973 Best Foreign Director Won [97]
Special David Harriet Andersson Won [98]
Ingrid Thulin Won
Liv Ullmann Won
Kari Sylwan Won
Golden Globes 28 January 1973 Best Foreign Language Film Ingmar Bergman Nominated [96]
Guldbagge Awards 29 October 1973 Best Film Won [91]
Best Actress Harriet Andersson Won
Special Achievemnent Sven Nykvist Won
Jussi Awards 1975 Best Foreign Director Ingmar Bergman Won [91]
Nastro d'Argento 1974 Best Foreign Film Won [91]
National Board of Review 24 December 1973 Best Director Won [99]
Best Foreign Language Film Won
Top Foreign Films Won
National Society of Film Critics 29 December 1972 Best Screenplay Won [100]
Best Cinematography Sven Nykvist Won
New York Film Critics Circle 3 January 1973 Best Film Ingmar Bergman Won [101]
Best Director Won
Best Screenplay Won
Best Actress Liv Ullmann Won


In 1981, PostNord Sverige published a postage stamp depicting the scene in which Anna holds Agnes. This was part of a series of stamps to commemorate the history of the cinema of Sweden.[102] Woody Allen's later films, including the 1978 Interiors and 1987 Hannah and Her Sisters, bear influence from Cries and Whispers,[n 5] as does Margarethe von Trotta's trilogy, Sisters, or the Balance of Happiness, Marianne and Juliane and Love and Fear (1979—1988).[103] In 2017, Hallwyl Museum also displayed costumes from Cries and Whispers and other Bergman films.[104]

The film was also adapted for the stage. In 2010, Andrei Șerban directed Cries and Whispers for the Hungarian Theatre of Cluj, which dramatizes both the story and the production of the film.[105] Ivo van Hove directed an adaptation in 2009 at the Bergman Festival in Sweden's Royal Dramatic Theatre,[106] and 2011 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, starring Chris Nietvelt as Agnes, moving the story to a contemporary setting, reducing the use of red, and replacing the classical music with modern songs, including Janis Joplin's "Cry Baby".[107]


  1. ^ Bergman claimed the title was derived from a description of the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.[6] Editor Ken Dancyger alternatively related the title to the sounds one makes when one dies.[26]
  2. ^ Bergman recalled receiving his own magic lantern at age 10, from his aunt;[30] in his autobiography, he described it as personally significant, and also depicted a magic lantern in his 1982 Fanny and Alexander.[31]
  3. ^ Wood connected this usage of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach to The Silence where the Goldberg Variations play, and Autumn Sonata where it is used in a moment of unity, and contrasted it to darker usage in Through a Glass Darkly and Persona.[68]
  4. ^ Cries and Whispers was the fourth foreign-language film in Academy history to receive this nomination, after Grand Illusion, Z, and The Emigrants.[93]
  5. ^ Rueschmann identified Interiors as Allen's "most candid homage", given the sister characters' relationship to their depressed mother; Hannah and Her Sisters "reprises his focus on three sisters", but pays more attention to the male characters.[103]


  1. ^ a b c Steene 2005, p. 299.
  2. ^ Shargel 2007, p. xv.
  3. ^ Shargel 2007, p. 133.
  4. ^ a b Corman & Jerome 1990, p. 190.
  5. ^ a b c Vermilye 2006, p. 139.
  6. ^ a b c d Nyreröd, Marie; Bergman, Ingmar (2015). Introduction by Ingmar Bergman. Cries and Whispers (Blu-ray). The Criterion Collection. 
  7. ^ a b Gado 1986, p. 408.
  8. ^ Gado 1986, p. 409.
  9. ^ a b Gervais 1999, p. 120.
  10. ^ a b c Wilson, Emma (2 April 2015). "Cries and Whispers: Love and Death". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved 15 November 2017. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Cries and Whispers". The Ingmar Bergman Foundation. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Steene 2005, p. 44.
  13. ^ Gado 1986, pp. 397–399.
  14. ^ Vermilye 2006, p. 123.
  15. ^ a b Ebert, Roger (18 August 2002). "Cries and Whispers". Retrieved 12 November 2017. 
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