Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
The Seventh Seal
Ingmar Bergmann’s masterpiece film about confronting death. Death comes to a knight upon his arrival from battle and attempts to take him away. The knight challenges Death to a chess match as the people around them are haunted by the plague. The Seventh Seal comes from a riddle about crusaders who arrive home after a few years to find their people affected by the plague.
''I met Death today. We are playing chess.''
Ingmar Bergman's 1957 hallowed masterpiece The Seventh Seal seems to exist in a pantheon of cinema greatness that is universally adored and cherished, with it's iconic symbolism and imagery imprinted on the minds and hearts of Cinephiles across all matter of time and space. As I ventured into my third viewing (the first in more than ten years), I was curious to discover whether the acclaim was still warranted, of which the answer was unequivocally 'Yes'.
I recently saw mentioned that Bergman's film Winter Light (made five years after this), is a modern retelling of the same themes in many ways, which is very astute considering what we know of the revered…
My first Bergman feature and it proved to be quite an intriguing one. The Seventh Seal poses some of the most pertinent questions known to mankind and that too in a very bare and straight out manner.
It tells the story of Antonious Block, a knight who is returning home after the crusades. He meets Death and challenges him to play a game of chess with him and in turn buys time of respite to reach home and meet his love. The film is a journey toward Block's home, his unending quest to know whether God really exists or not, and his meetings with people of multifarious kinds.
The film is filled with intelligent and contemplative dialogue of both kinds,…
Much like Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, The Seventh Seal offers a cross section of Mediaeval life and while doing so it comments on our race, faith and life.
I don't know much about Bergman, but this feels like a personal exploration of an artist trying to figure out how he relates to God, the afterlife and his own mortality. Bergman does this by constructing a deeply philosophical allegory composed of classic iconic imagery and intelligent, contemplative dialogue.
In the Knight we find a man desperately clinging to life. Not because he is afraid to die, but because he needs answers. In a plague infested world he needs to understand why his God is silent. To buy time he challenges Death to…
The Seventh Seal was surprisingly more witty than I expected it to be, but even if it can be quite fun at times (I even laughed at several occasions), it's tone can suddenly change into a more serious one in just a few seconds, without feeling tonally inconsistent. Everyone in the film is constantly surrounded by death in some way. It of course takes place during the Black Death, where death was present everywhere. The one who probably deals the most with death, and even directly with the embodiment of death itself, is Max Von Sydow's character. He tries to deal with his fear of death, and in the very first scene of the movie, Death comes to take him,…
My Great Uncle Jim, may he rest in peace, used to sit next to me at the dinner table every Thanksgiving and ask me "Hey Scott, seen any good movies lately?". Whatever I answered, if it was a film made after 1980 he would immediately show his disinterest and say "They just don't make em' like they used to", and I would roll my eyes and continue eating my dry turkey and canned cranberry sauce. I couldn't help but think of him while watching The Seventh Seal for the first time (that's right, first time, wanna fight about it?).
They really don't make films like The Seventh Seal anymore. At least, if they do, I certainly am missing out on…
Danse Macabre and the philosophical questions of life at the verge of death. The Seventh Seal is the film that put Bergman on the map as a force to be reckon with in the world of cinema. Despite gaining much praise from his previous film Smiles of a Summer Night from the year before it was this film which won the Special Jury Prize at Cannes that set him on the path to iconic status among film critics. This is very much the truth with the film being Bergman's first of many masterpieces of filmmaking to come.
What makes The Seventh Seal on top of the elite is how Bergman works with such smaller scale production values, few locations and…
Ingmar Bergman’s classic film is labeled by most historians, critics and scholars as a “Great Film” and rightfully so; it is profound, important, beautiful and thought-provoking in its concepts. While all of those adjectives are certainly true, it gives the impression that the film is inaccessible or too heavy and grim to be enjoyable. Bergman covers the challenging topic of death with the gravity it warrants – the famous image of the knight on the beach playing chess with death is justly iconic – but he also weaves humor into the proceedings which helps to avoid this from being a downer of a movie-viewing experience. Instead of looking at the film as being about death, I prefer to think that it is about life and everything within it that makes us want to go on, even when all around us is deteriorating. And that’s what makes this a masterpiece.
What we are? From where do we came? What's beyond this life? Those questions keep me awake some nights. Antonius tries to understand what is life, god, death, or our own purpose. We are playing with death the game of our lives. While Antonius plays chess with Death, he can seek for answer about his life, that was dedicated for God, and for his Glory. But, if god exists, why can't he show himself, or answer our questions? And if there's another life, after this, why can't we see? After all, everything has to end. Death will dance with every living creature, and nothing will escape. We all gonna die, someday.
I envy those who haven't thought about death. These people, if they do exist, should be truly happy. They live in the present, in this world, not in the next. They don't care what the future holds, but are happy with what they have now. As the knight knows, the greatest plague is not knowing, but wanting to. Our knight questions the future, life and death, faith and knowledge, pines away at questions that trouble him forever. In this movie, we also have a small theater troupe, among them, a couple. This couple is in love, they have a child. When questioning the future, they do not question their own, but rather, what is in store for…
THIS IS AN OLD REVIEW FROM AGES AGO
Throughout the history of film, we have been told that God is omnibenevolent, that miralces happen, that God loves us and watches over us all of the time. Bergman's bleak masterpiece, The Seventh Seal, came along in 1957 to challenge all of movie history's past teachings. This film suggests that in fact God doesn't love us, and maybe doesn't even exist at all.
Telling the story of a knight who plays a game of chess with death himself, this film is often devoid of life and is therefore bleak. The black and white of both the film and the chessboard which is played on represents the conflict between life and death. It…
This is an amazing film. One of my absolute favorites.
The lighting in the final chess scene is surreal.
This movie has stuck with me a long time. I watched it in high school, during school, instead of doing work. My teacher asked me why I was crying at the end and all I could say was something about dancing.
contemplates how a deafening silence between man & god dictates a faith shaped by fear; not fear of death, rather a fear of a misplaced life. bergman's wintry landscapes mirror the harsh, barren consequences of searching for truth through religion. von sydow channels his angst and loneliness and death quite literally looms over events in the film, but i didn't expect it to be quite so funny. i guess a little levity was required in amongst the depressed introspection, and it's impressive that it never jarrs, instead the mordant humour feels crucial to how the story unravels.
"And when the lamb had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound."
Death, religion, purpose, the existence of god. Ingmar Berman's cinematic classic The Seventh Seal addresses the most important questions while also being one of the most important films ever made. Shot in high contrast black and white by Gunnar Fischer ( Wild Strawberries, The Magician ) the cinematography transports the audience to a gloomy yet magical world where knights play chess with death. I had put off watching this film for a long time because I felt like it would be overwhelming and possibly even tough…
A game of Twister may have helped to lighten the mood...
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