Friday, June 7, 2013

The Seventh Seal

Death and Antonius play chess.

 An historic week for this film buff. I saw Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal" for the first time. My MIND is BLOWN!

Thanks to my wonderful son who gave me a Netflix subscription recently, I've been having a blast watching movies that I've always wanted to see. "The Seventh Seal" was at the top of the list.

The cinematography is unbelievable. My mind is reeling (no pun intended).

The dialog is captivating, and along with the amazing visuals and motifs, the themes of death, faith and God's silence are sublimely expressed. I watched it twice and am going to watch it a few more time before I return it.

So what's the movie about? The story is set in the Middle Ages during the Black Plague. A knight named Antonius Block (Max von Sydow) and his squire return home from the Crusades. On the way, Death (Bengt Ekerot) approaches Antonius to take him away, but Antonius challenges Death to a game of chess: If Antonius wins, he gets to live. If Death wins, Antonius will die. Antonius meets a family of traveling performers, including Jof (Nils Poppe), an acrobat who has visions and can see into the spiritual realm. Antonius struggles with questions about God and the meaning of existence. He wants to make his life count for something. In the end, he helps Jof and his family escape Death.

Death approaches Antonius.

A girl condemned to be burned at the stake for being a witch.
Antonius asks her to summon Satan so he can ask him about God.

Antonius unknowingly confesses to Death who is posing as a priest.  

Death leads his "victims" in a Dance of Death.

As a die-hard Woody Allen fan, I knew it was only a matter of time before I would see an Ingmar Bergman film. If you know anything about Woody Allen, you know that Bergman is his greatest inspiration.

Interestingly, Max von Sydow was cast in the Woody Allen film "Hannah and Her Sisters," playing the artist lover of Lee (Barbara Hershey).

Next on Netflix: Ingmar Bergman's "Wild Strawberries" and "Cries and Whispers.


  1. What a great movie! To see that cinematic world collide with the one I inhabit most - check out Roger Corman's version of Edgar Allan Poe's Masque of the Red Death - definitely influenced by Bergman - Bergman brought to the drive-in!

    1. Craig: I love Poe...will definitely check out that flick.

  2. I've never seen this. Was it in English or does it have subtitles?

    1. JoJo: The film is Swedish and has subtitles. Try to see it if you can. It's fabulous!