The Seventh Seal

The Seventh Seal ★★★★


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, not only symbolically, but quite literally.
I also find quite interesting the way justice was interpreted in the film. While watching the film, I thought that it was depressing how Max Von Sydow’s character was essentially wasting his life away being obsessed with the concept of death, religion, and evil. He was almost relieved to have Death come to him, and I believe that he challenged him to a game of chess, less to avoid his death, and more to try to understand the way Death’s mind worked. This is where the justice comes in. I think that all the characters taken by Death, were spending their lives trying to understand the workings of Death. The squire is the only one in the group at the end, that is taken unjustly in my opinion. He lived his life with no worries of what was to come after it. It is, in a way, poetic justice, and he is truly at no fault, and yet through association he was deemed ready to die.
Mia, Jof, and Mikael escape Death, which works well with the idea that they represent the Holy family, and are unbreakable. I do not wish for Mikael to truly live out the life of christ, but I also wish not for him to follow in the footsteps of Antonius Block, as that is no way to live either. The ending is left slightly open ended, as what happens next to the family of performers was never dictated in the story. I choose to think that they break free of the bindings of tradition and cyclical stories, and instead live their own lives free of Death until it is truly their time. Unfortunately, I fear that the truth is far more morbid, and that in accordance with the rest of the story, they fall victim to Death at an unjust time. It is clear by the death of Jons, the squire, that Death is not always just, and that good people are not always treated with justice by Death.

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