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…
I feel like "this movie is surprisingly funny" has, at this point, become a cliche on the level of "MTV doesn't play music videos anymore", but it's true. And it's not dry, impenetrable humor either, some of it is straight-up Looney Tunes stuff (like Death cutting down the tree). It's the meditation on death and God for the whole family!
I loved! Amazing movie...
While its not one of my favorite Bergman films I have seen, it is still a fascinating film on life and death. Really great camera work, Gunnar Fischer's cinematography is spectacular. I do think this is a piece of work I am going to have to watch again to appreciate it better.
I felt like I was just staring at Robert Blake the whole time.
All the scenes featuring Max von Sydow's character with the Death were so unique, interesting, and absorbing that they made me wish I were smarter to get all their intense philosophical talk. Apart from those scenes, this film was extremely boring and uninteresting for me. Thematically, I didn't get anything besides the broad notion that it is extremely existentialist and that it encompasses a wide array of philosophical topics I will never understand because I suck at philosophy. Visually and cinematography-wise, this movie is breathtaking and that is a universal truth, and it's also universal the fact that this picture is considered an absolute masterpiece of cinema, but I honestly don't like it.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
This is a classic allegory about the search for meaning in life and confronting death. "Death" in this film is actually a grim reaper type character who has come to claim a knight who has just returned from fighting in the Crusades in the 14th century. Our knight, searching for answers for life's big questions, doesn't feel ready to die so he challenges death to a game of chess to buy himself some more time. Meanwhile much of the film also paints a picture of a Swedish town being decimated by the Black Plague, while the clergy frightens the townsfolk and the picture it paints is very much a dog eat dog one. Some travelling actors also appear in a…
- Am so feeling better about my own mortality now.
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- The Great Train Robbery
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