Film Reviews: “The Seventh Seal” (1957)

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Directed and written by Ingmar Bergman. Starring Max von Sydow.

The black plague is sweeping across the land. People fear God’s wrath and repent in hopes of being saved.

Knight Antonius Block returns from the crusades, traveling across the country to his castle. He struggles with his own beliefs, and questions the point of existence. “I want knowledge. Not faith or conjecture, but knowledge. I want God to reach out his hand, show his face, speak to me…I cry to him in the darkness, but sometimes it feels like no one is there… No man can live facing death knowing that everything is nothingness.”

On a beach during his travels, Antonius is visited by the Death himself. Instead of succumbing, he asks the reaper to play a game of chess for his own life and those around him. There must be faith somewhere inside him.

“The Seventh Seal” is stunning, both visually and in it’s poetic symbolism. Lets face it, Bergman could shoot Max von Sydow eating a bowl of Cheerios and it would be fantastic. Bengt Ekerot as Death is one of cinema’s finest images. I’ve seen still photos of him before, but to watch in motion gave me chills. This is a true classic.

4.0 out of 4.0 stars.

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