Husband and wife -- Sweden -- Drama, Marriage -- Sweden -- Drama, Married women -- Sweden -- Drama, Women -- Sweden -- Drama

Secrets of Women

(Kvinnors väntan)
(Waiting Women)


Anita Björk, Karl-Arne Holmsten, Jarl Kulle, Maj-Britt Nilsson,

Secrets of Women is essential early Bergman, offering glimpses of what is to come but with a freshness of spirit that gracefully eludes the tropes of genius. Scenes from several marriages emerge when five women, all related, gather to await the arrival of their respective husbands at an island summer house. Each agrees to tell the others a crucial episode from her marriage. With the men relegated to narrative objects, Secrets plays like Cukor’s The Women, stripped of its distanced, brittle comedy. In its place, the intimate, revealing encounter, the sudden knowledge of self and other that irreparably changes a marriage—despite appearance to the contrary. Mixing the wistful humor of averted tragedy with a rare elegiac optimism, this film announced Bergman internationally as a director with a unique understanding of women—more precisely, of what women know about men.

Judy Bloch
  • Ingmar Bergman
  • Gunnar Fischer
  • Swedish
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • DCP
  • 107 mins
  • Janus Films

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Ingmar Bergman's magic lantern: life as art in retrospect (program note), Hopkins Center of Dartmouth College, Ulrike Rainer, 1988

Secrets of women (review), University of California Press Journals Division. Film Quarterly, Alfred Appel Jr., 1961

Secrets of women (review), Filmfacts, Bosley Crowther, 1961

Kvinnors vantan (review), Variety, Gene Moskowitz, 1958

Secrets of women (distributor materials), Janus Films

Illuminating Ingmar Bergman (program note), Pacific Film Archive

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View all Secrets of Women documentation on CineFiles.