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,…
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…
Weimar (Con Luis Maldonado)
-Ufff... tremenda. Grandes actuaciones, diálogos muy complejos, el colorido
-Todo lo mejor y característico de Bergman está presente: ese escarbar en los bajos fondos del alma, plantear preguntas incómodas (o uno se decide a no planteárselas, sabiendo que quedan pendientes en el subconsiente o uno las enfrenta y corre el riesgo de quedar amargado). Más un trabajo visual impecable
Palpatine's attempt to try and turn Max von Sydow to the dark side. We'll find out in Episode VII if he succeeded.
Great film about God, Life and more importantly Death.
"Block: And you will reveal your secrets?
Death: I have no secrets.
Block: So you know nothing?
Death: I am unknowing."
-I don’t get what the deal is. This movie was all over the place. It had moments of camp, followed immediately by moments of intense melodrama. I just don’t think it has aged well. It gets a few points for being classic, but I just couldn’t get drawn into it. Bergman’s directing style seems to be just going from tableau to tableau, and he makes good ones, but it made the movement incredibly stilted and weirdly theatrical. The chess metaphor with death was so hasty, they only play three turns before the knight loses, and it’s very clear that he’s a very bad player. The retrograde depiction of women bothered me, but I can’t really take that into account due to historical context. The cinematography was gorgeous and worked very well with the incredibly dramatic tone, but that’s the most I can say about this movie. It just wasn’t for me.
My co-teacher and I showed The Seventh Seal to our film appreciation class. It was most likely the first foreign language film any of them had ever seen (aside from those in Spanish), and I find that hilarious. It is a classic for so many good reasons, and it is really fascinating to see Max von Sydow playing a young man, but it is perhaps not a great place to start with inner city high schoolers. Or maybe it was a great entry point - some of them followed it.
MOVIE A DAY FOR A YEAR - DAY 223
The topics that Bergman deals with this film are very heavy. This is a film that would never be made today, because it is simply too heavy handed, and modern cinema is not as experimental and daring as it used to be. Symbolism and allegory are very evident in The Seventh Seal. Religion is the central symbol in the story, as it essentially represents the end that we must all reach. The way in which the character of Death is personified in The Seventh Seal makes for a more haunting story, and also adds a very rare aspect to the film. This is the ability to see death as a character,…
Few movies are as iconic as this one.
My introduction to Bergman, I can't believe it took this long.
This film has an absolutely incredible way of being so obviously overt in its allegory and thematic elements and yet so layered, mysterious, detailed. Bergman's tale connects because it's characters are so archetypical that they begin to represent the state and psychological foundation of humanity itself.
The questions we will always ask but never answer, the idiosyncrasies of religious truth, fear over beauty, life over death, re-enacting vs. living, meaning vs. occupation. Bergman lays it all on the table to find no answer but that there are no answers (not even Death has an answer). Gorgeously shot, inspired and captivating, THE SEVENTH SEAL may seem bleak to some, to others it may be the very life-affirming artistic endeavor of the 20th century.
- 12 Angry Men
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- 25th Hour
- 3 Women
- A Trip to the Moon
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Birth of a Nation
- Les Vampires
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. An easy way of seeing how…
- The Godfather
- Seven Samurai
- The Godfather: Part II
- 12 Angry Men
most recent update - Friday, November 22, 2014
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