Cries and Whispers

Another incredible experience from one of my most favorite filmmakers. Bergman’s work is almost never comfortable, or what you might even call enjoyable, but it’s always strongly felt. I love him so.

I feel so utterly fortunate, to have grown up in the culture that I did. I’m especially reminded of that fortune, when I see a document like this one. These people, with their inability to love their family, or to even be honest with the people around them, remind me how lucky I am. The culture I grew up in made situations like these almost impossible, and I’m far better off for it.

This is the story of three in-their-prime sisters and their servant. One of the sisters is slowly dying of late-stage cancer. She’s being tended to by the servant, a woman who lost her own daughter at an even younger age. None of the sisters are close to each other, or to their husbands. We are presented with flashbacks that illustrate exactly how each is completely alienated from everything around them. As the hospice nears its end, tensions break, and the family is more-or-less honest with each other, perhaps for the first time.

My family talks to each other. We might not always want to listen, but we always talk. I cannot fathom a scenario where things as deep as are presented here are left unsaid. I cannot imagine a world where I would be so distant from the people who are, ostensibly, the closest to me in the world. We talk, we fight, we’re angry, we apologize, we try to make amends. It’s messy, and nowhere near as genteel as these people are, but it works a whole hell of a lot better as a way to live.