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Sjunde inseglet, Det (The Seventh Seal)(1957)
Sweden / Swedish
A man seeks answers about life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess against the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague.
Gunnar Björnstrand Jöns, squire
Bengt Ekerot Death
Nils Poppe Jof
Max von Sydow Antonius Block
Bibi Andersson Mia, Jof's wife
Inga Gill Lisa, blacksmith's wife
Maud Hansson Witch
Inga Landgré Karin, Block's Wife
Gunnel Lindblom Girl
Bertil Anderberg Raval
Anders Ek The Monk
Åke Fridell Blacksmith Plog
Gunnar Olsson Albertus Pictor, Church Painter
Erik Strandmark Jonas Skat
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Producer: Allan Ekelund
Writer: Ingmar Bergman
Intelligent and accessible with incredible imagery
'I live now in a world of ghosts, a prisoner in my dreams', a line spoken by Antonius Block (Max Von Sydow) in 'The Seventh Seal' is also a good descriptor of this critically lauded film. Directed by Ingmar Bergman, the film explores, through an allegorical fashion, human relationships and the struggle with ones own psyche. Block is a knight on his way home from the Crusades who becomes increasingly disillusioned while surveying his country, which has been ravaged by the Black Plague. Along the way he avers that he doesn't care about anyone, and questions the existence of a God who could allow these things to happen. In the beginning of the film he meets Death, who informs him that it is his time. Block manages to push off Death for a little while by distracting him with a chess game while he travels home; encountering several different characters, but Death is always following close behind until the inevitable end of the game.

Bergman's style is not straight forward, rather quite symbolic and philosophical. The imagery at times is astounding, and I still (a month after seeing the film for the first time) see the image of 'the dance with Death' in my head when I think of the film. However, what I discovered was that this film carries with it a lot of intellectual and philosophical baggage that is not necessarily warranted. Nothing is really spelled out in this film, but it was much more easily 'accessible' than I thought it would be; I assumed I would have to put on my 'Affected Art House' hat on to watch it and nothing could be farther from the truth. Steeped in beautiful irony, the film, while having the pervasive specter of Death hanging over it, really celebrates life through its characters and their unusual circumstances.

It is truly unfortunate that the powerful image of man playing chess with Death has become such a cliché, and oft repeated in some ridiculous manner or another. Bergman directed a thought-provoking and beautiful film with 'The Seventh Seal', and I personally look forward to seeing it again, this time not to grasp the story, but to marvel at the incredible images. I would recommend this film to anyone, but I especially highly recommend it to those who consider themselves students of film – it will give you a lot to chew on. 8/10


Seen it:Nej
Nr of disks/tapes:1
User credit 1:1001 movies you must see before you die
User credit 2:316
Storage device:Divx 5
Imdb rating: 8.4
Musician: Erik Nordgren
Running time: 92 min
Subtitles: Svenska
Everything else:
Last modified: 2008-01-14 13:23:28