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…
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…
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,…
Watching The Seventh Seal on a long car ride, no space to move, headphones in cancelling out any sound from outside, energy focused entirely on a small computer screen was a... religious experience.
As with most of Bergman's films, I was skeptical as the film started, I was detached and not with it yet. Then suddenly, at some point - it will be a different point for each person, perhaps - it just clicks. And from there on in, The Seventh Seal is deeply moving, intensely philosophical and increasingly personal.
The performances are plain yet inspired, provoking the audience into listening to what the screenplay is saying.
Bergman's directing is ever present, lurking, never too showy but always there. The…
How do you even begin to speak about a movie as iconic as THE SEVENTH SEAL? Is there anything you can add to the discussion? What can you say that hasn't already been said?
Nothing, so you shouldn't even try.
That being said, a film's iconic status can sometimes be detrimental to itself. You say it's one the greatest and most important movies ever made and people either go in with the wrong expectations or they scoff and think they're above a B&W film from the 1950's (and in Swedish too!), which is a shame because THE SEVENTH SEAL is every bit deserving of its reputation.
It's under those circumstance that I feel encouraged to say SOMETHING. I remember back…
Ingmar Bergman had a fascination with mortality and how best to confront that mortality in different ways. THis fascination is best exemplified in this masterpiece, really the film that helped introduce him to mainstream audiences throughout the world (along with Wild Strawberries.)
The Seventh Seal is a story that has become so iconic, it has been retold and parodied a dozen times over (even becoming a plot point in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey). A crusader knight comes back to his home country and is confronted by Death, who has come to claim his soul. The knight challenges Death to a game of chess, and as the game plays out over the course of the film, we get little snippets of…
This is such a bizarre movie. It's got a variable for a tone, and it can be hysterical and horrifying in the same scene. Also shocking: That Von Sydow doesn't really do much in the movie outside his chess game. There's some incredible cinematography in here, and the idea of "chess with Death" is so genius I'm still amazed it wasn't used before this, but I still feel like this isn't a movie that will be so much a part of me, at least not yet. Either way, even among the little Bergman I've seen, I've never seen anything quite like it, and I can't wait to visit its world again someday.
I can't help but feel like there was something missing from this film. Don't get me wrong, I thought it was a masterpiece in cinematography and it delved into the vagaries of faith and God, but for some reason I was expecting a little more.
Nevertheless, a stunning achievement in film. The powerful effect of the personification of Death brings to the forefront of the viewer's conscience how we grapple with the idea of it and why, despite the presumed existence of God, He allows us to suffer and eventually perish due to the ever-present specter of death. What I see in this film is not an assault on God, but a plea - from Bergman - to better understand Him and why we should retain our faith in Him. As an non-religious man myself, I still felt the confusion and dissatisfaction which Bergman - through Antonius Block - expresses concerning his faith in God and Jesus.
I'm conflicted with this film. It's not what I expected, and it's quite dense and thought-provoking at times. But I was actually hoping for something a bit more...well, with more dialogue of philosophical and logical discussion. Perhaps there's more here than I initially took in though, and a subsequent viewing would shed some more light on it.
I honestly hate this kind of movies, but The Seventh Seal got my attention. It has an apocalyptic, dark and poetic atmosphere that makes it stand out from other fantasy films. This movie has the power to change the way one thinks.
Pintura medieval en movimiento. Y la constante preocupación de lo único seguro, la muerte.
“Al borde de la vida el miedo nos hace crear una imagen salvadora y esa imagen es lo que llamamos Dios” - Antonius Black
Reflexões sobre a vida, simbolismo, atuações espetaculares, fotografia maravilhosa, filosofia... Filme perfeito!
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