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cries and whispers

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duration 1:40
premiere 20 Mar 2009


In an out of the way mansion fatally ill Agnes feverishly lives out her final hours. In video fragments she registers not only her pain but also her irrepressible urge to grant herself a voice. Her powerful vitality is outlined sharply against the attitude of the three women who watch over her. Death does not bring them closer to each other, but is like a looking glass from which the women see themselves reflected.

All-revealing flashbacks show the lies, the cold-heartedness and the sexual frustrations that made them into what they are: scared and disillusioned women, caught in silence and in the servility of their bourgeois world.


‘This is Van Hove at his best. Powerful images in a razor-sharp mise-en-scène, with majestic acting. The unemphatic but meticulously depicted failure to communicate and comfort is more humiliating than any death. The feeling of oppression remains with you long afterwards.’ Trouw

‘Nothing short of brilliant is the ability of Ivo van Hove and Jan Versweyveld to make her death into a work of art encompassing every conceivable element – frightening, mysterious, more majestic than life itself. The set ought to be a permanent exhibit at the Stedelijk Museum. This shows how innovatory a combination of ‘old-fashioned’ acting and new media can be, taking advantage of the spatial opportunities afforded by a large stage.’ AD

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