Det sjunde inseglet (1957) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: A Knight and his squire are home from the crusades. Black Death is sweeping their country. As they approach home, Death appears to the knight and tells him it is his time. The knight challenges Death to a chess game for his life. The Knight and Death play as the cultural turmoil envelopes the people around them as they try, in different ways, to deal with the upheaval the plague has caused. Runtime: 96 mins Release Date: 12 Oct 1957
Middle Ages: Antonius Blok, a Swedish knight, returns from the Crusades only to find his country dying of the plague, religious fundamentalists taking over and Death himself wanting him to come along. Antonius challenges Death to a game of chess and is meanwhile driven to desperation because of the absence of God. This description sounds like a very serious, philosophical and dour film, and actually it is serious, philosophical and dour; but there is also a little warmth, hope and humor, maybe not for Antonius, but for the viewer.When Blok and Death interrupt their game of chess due to the <more>
plague, Death is very busy , he meets two actors, Jof and Mia, with their little son, the most human characters of the film, and I don't think it's a coincidence that there names sound very much like Joseph and Mary. These people may be a little dim, but they are good at heart and you can see the happiness in Antonius' eyes when he is together with them for the first time. But the main aspect of Ingmar Bergman's arguably best film are Antonius Blok's grim encounters, as the young girl about to be burnt at the stake, as a scapegoat for the plague. And the haunting image of a huge crowd of flagellants interrupting a play of Jof and Mia and trying to convince the crowd thery are doomed; hardly any other film is that direct in asking controversial and essential questions about God, religion and mankind as The Seventh Seal.Another reason for the impact this almost 50-year-old film has still today is the acting: Max von Sydow's face always seems to reflect what Antonius Blok is thinking, Nils Poppe's performance as the naive actor and caring father is priceless and Bengt Ekerot's Death became a part of film history and survived all its spoofs the best one being in Woody Allen's tremendously funny "Love and Death" . But the best performance is done by Gunnar BjÃ¶rnstrand as Antonios Blok's misogynist squire, dryly commenting all their encounters even in the face of death.The Seventh Seal is not subtle in raising it's questions, that's for sure. But it makes you think about these questions nevertheless. It's disturbing and grim most of the time, but at the end it gives you the hope that it might become better.
Ingmar Bergman questions the meaning of life, death, faith, and the existence of God in this masterpiece of world cinema... (by ACitizenCalledKane)
Antonius Block - "Who are you?" Death - "I am Death." Antonius Block - "Have you come for me?" Death - "I have long walked by your side." Antonius Block - "So I have noticed."The Seventh Seal, considered by some to be Ingmar Bergman's greatest achievement, is the desperate prayer of a sensitive, introspective, and insightful young man confused by the horrors of the world around him. Ingmar Bergman's films are often very deep, full of symbolism, philosophy, spirituality, emotion, and thought. The Seventh Seal is classic Bergman. <more>
Expressing his fear of life with no meaning, death with no understanding, and faith with no validity, Ingmar Bergman takes us deep into the well of his mind.As the Black Plague ravages the world, a Antonius Block and his squire, Jons Max Von Sydow and Gunnar Bjornstrand, respectively , return from fighting in the Crusades. They find their homeland devastated by the plague, their countrymen mad with fear, and their cause lost. Antonius Block is confronted by Death Bengt Ekerot . Block challenges Death to a game of chess to provide him time to seek answers to the questions that plague his mind as Death has plagued his country. Death accepts, knowing that Block cannot escape his fate, and the two begin their game. As the story continues, Block and Jons meet with several testaments to the agony that the Black Death has brought upon their land. They find a young girl who is to be burned at the stake for having been with the Devil. They find madness in the eyes of all they meet, as everyone is convinced that God is angry and is punishing the world with the plague. They also find a small group of travelling actors, who appear to be the only souls to have remained sane in the midst of all of the death and fear. Block and Jons move across the countryside in the hopes of finding safety in Block's castle, but Death is always around the corner, biding his time.Brilliantly conceived, and stunningly executed, Bergman's vision is brought to the screen through Gunnar Fischer's powerful cinematography creating images that will likely remain with you for the rest of your life. Strong performances from everyone involved bring humanity to the film. Max Von Sydow's brave and conflicted Antonius Block matching wits with Bengt Ekerot's sinister, omnipotent Death is a microcosm of the forces at work in this breath-taking interpretation of the mortal struggle.A masterpiece!
The Quintessential Bergman Picture (by Quinoa1984)
One thing that can be certain after watching the Seventh Seal, outside of being thankful for living in this century, is that Bergman knows his film-making- and imagery. He uses subliminal and not so subliminal techniques to convey a dying, frightened world, where making a living is almost impossible and the debate of god's control over life is discussed like un-rhyming yet fascinating poetry. The result is beautiful cinema, capturing the always foreboding fear and allure of the almighty and for the waiting death, appropriately staged in post-crusades, mid dark age Europe. Max Von Sydow <more>
gives an excellent showing as the opponent of Death in a clever and meticulous chess game , yet the character of Death, played by Bengt Ekerot with chilling conviction, steals the show, if only for the alluring quality of the character. Even if the story veers it veers in good and interesting territory, focusing on people who convey Bergman's point and or style. I can't reveal what the bottom line point is many newcomers to Bergman's work won't either, especially if you're not in the mood for soul searching , but one thing is for certain, an allegory on life and death is shown perfectly in the second to last shot of the reaper and his minions following in a dance across the field. This is one of the most pure of cinema's masterpieces and certainly Bergman's best cine. A++
Great, but far from Bergman's best (by Bergmaniac)
I find it strange that "The seventh Seal" has always been widely considered to be the best Bergman movie and is so much more famous that all the others he made. Yes, it's very good, especially for its time, but compared with the real masterpieces Bergman made like "Wild Strawberries", "Through a Glass darkly", "Persona", "Winter light" and "Fanny and Alexander", it really pales in comparison. The ideas and the questions asked in this movie are pretty interesting and profound, but I feel that Bergman has done so much better in his <more>
later movies on similar subjects. The theme about the God's silence is much, much better developed in the famous "Faith Trilogy", especially "Through a glass darkly" and "Winter light". The theme about how to cope with fear of death is well developed, but couldn't really convince me. Also I feel that the film has too many "comic relief" moments. Many people have praised the cinematography in this movie, quite a few saying that it's one of the best ever. I beg to disagree. It's very, very good, excellent at times, but again Bergman has done so much better in his other movies. Personally I feel that the cinematography in Bergman's movies improved when he changed his director of photography Gunnar Fischer who worked on this movie and "Wild Strawberries" with Sven Nykvist. Watch "Through a glass darkly" or "Persona" if you want a really stunning cinematography. But even "Wild Strawberries", made shortly after "The Seventh seal" and looking visually quite similar, is better IMO. Here the settings and the lighting looks too theatrical to me for most of the times. Of course, there were quite a few memorable images, especially the start with Death on the beach, the dance with Death at the end, the procession of the fanatics who whipped themselves through the village,etc. But still, something was lacking in many of the scenes. Bergman had to shoot the whole movie in just 35 days, so it's understandable IMO. After being so critical to the movie so far, it's time to mention its strong points. They are typical of Bergman's movies. Very strong acting especially from Max von Sydov , amazing dark medieval atmosphere, really makes you think about the important questions. The music was very well and effectively used too. It's a great movie, no doubt, and it established Bergman as one of the all-time greats, which is big plus for a huge fan of him like myself. Still, my advice is: don't limit your Bergman experience to just this movie, watch his others, many of them are even better. 9/10
Really weird but worth seeing for the experience (by MartinHafer)
This is a strange movie--period! However, it is also one of the most parodied films and for that reason alone it is worth seeing! Now, on to explain the part that is parodied: A man is returning from war in the time of the Reformation and the plague is about the countryside. The man meets the Angel of Death and is told it is him time to die. The man asks if he can first challenge him in a game of chess--if the man wins, then his life will be spared. The Grim Reaper, not wanting to be a spoilsport, agrees and they play a game that starts and stops again and again. This exact same contest has <more>
been used in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, the cartoon series The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, and an experimental film De DÃ¼va: The Dove starring Madeline Kahn among others . In the Bill and Ted movie, they did not play chess but a series of games including Battleship and Twister! In The Dove, it was a badminton game! I can't remember what the game was in the cartoon series, but instead of their deaths, the children played the Grim Reaper over the soul of their pet hamster! Isn't is weird how this art film has appeared again and again and in the silliest of places! Give it a try to see the FIRST death-match and because it is a good film--with excellent performances all around--from Max Von Sydow to all the supporting players. Also, do not give up on the film too quick--I did and only saw it all years later when my sister-in-law convinced me to give it another try!
***SPOILERS*** Traveling back to his castle in Scandinavia Christian Knight Antonius Block, Max Von Sydow, has seen enough death and horror in the Crusade that he went on into the Holy Land, where he fought the last ten years. The Crusades took almost all the faith that he had in man as well as his belief in God out of him. Together with his squire, Gunnar Bjornstrand, Block found that his native land as well as the whole of Western Europe is being ravaged by the Black Plague that's destroying even more lives that the Crusades. Block begins to wonder if the plague is God's retribution <more>
to man for the evils that he committed over the centuries. Block and his squire have another person traveling with them through the hills and forests and along the coast of Sweden and he was with them throughout their entire journey back home from the hell-fires of the Middle-East Death, Bengt Ekerot. Sensing who he is when Block sees him at the seashore he knows that his time has come but talks him into playing him a game of chess to for stall his eventual demise. Even more to get from Death the knowledge about good and evil and the existence of a God before he ends up at the tip of the Grim Reaper's scythe. The chess game goes on and off throughout the movie "The Seventh Seal" and as long as Block stays in the game he stays alive as well as those who he picked up with him in his going back home to his castle where his lovely wife Karin, Inga Lanogre, is waiting for him. Beautifully and eerily photographed and directed by Igmar Bergman "The Seventh Seal" show us how we can be deceived into thinking that what were told is good can easily turn out to be evil, by those whom we trust and believe in. Like in the case of the many thousands of men like Block who believed enough to be willing to give up their lives for it. Later in the film we see Raval, Bertil Anderbern, stealing the gold and silver jewelry off the dead to enrich himself. Raval was the local religious leader who's fiery speeches to go to Jerusalem and drive the unbelievers out of that holy city and the entire holy land. Reduced to being a Godless grave-robber and unfeeling liar Raval ends up falling victim to the very horror that he profited from in stealing from the dead: the plague. As it begins to look that Death is slowly winning his game of chess with Block and the end is almost near for him he in desperation goes to talk to this young woman, Maud Hansson, who's about to be burned at the stake for being a witch by the local townspeople. Block trying to find out if it's true that she can see and even communicate with the Devil feeling that if the Devil exists God has to exist too. Since one can't exist without the other. Mercyfully giving her a potion that would ease her pain from the torch and fire thats about to engulf her all Block gets from the woman is a mindless and empty stare as she awaits the horror thats about to end her short and so mournful life. "The Seventh Seal" is considered my many to be Bergmans best film and since he made it back in 1956 he never came close to making another motion picture, with the many fine movies that he made over the years since then, as good as it was and still is even now. The movie not only makes you wonder if there's any truth that God as well as good and evil exists but also makes you think about yourself and that final journey into the dark and great unknown that we all eventually will have to travel.
A Very Personal Rejection of a Religious Childhood (by snazel)
The story of Antonius Block is the story of an agnostic who has begun to doubt. Is life really meaningless? Is the only true ethic of life, to simply enjoy the moment? If God is there, why does he not answer? Why does he leave men with kind hearts and noble aspirations to fumble in the dark dying of the plague with no answers? Perhaps, Antonius reasons, the answers only come from Death.No wonder then, that as Death approaches him, he cajoles the spirit to play a game with him. His intentions are to win, but most importantly, to find answers. The little I know of Bergman's youth, the <more>
Paladin Antonius Block seems to symbolize Bergman's last struggles with his strict religious instruction as a child. Antonius' struggles, Antonius' angst, Antonius' withering agnosticism is a reflection of where Bergman was philosophically at this early stage in his life and career.The climax of the film is of course the final 'duel' with Death. Antonius attempts to cheat death and in the end, death cheats him. This is an especially crushing defeat for Antonius, because the answers Death gives him, about the knowledge within Death itself, is Antonius' worst fears come true.It struck me, that in the final moments, when each character faces there own mortality right in front of them, that the strongest and purest reaction of them all, is the one from the squire, the atheist voice in the film. I think if you are an atheist, this film is going to please you, because clearly the sanest characters in this film are either indifferent or deny God's existence entirely.Whether it was intentional or not, I think Seventh Seal is a very personal film. Bergman deconstructs his father's teachings to us openly. There's nothing sublime here; this is a clear rejection of religion and the notion that death somehow provides 'answers'. The only answers, according to this film, lie in life and not death. A message Bergman delivers to us in striking fashion. A message Bergman knows directly contradicts what he was taught as a child.I think this is why later in life, Bergman disowned this film. I think he saw too clearly, how much of a very personal statement it was and how in some cases it was a vindictive film against his parents. It's why I believe, Bergman, couldn't stand to watch it later in life, after he had reconciled with his parents.While Bergman disowned it, for the rest of us, we can admire it. For us, the Seventh Seal is simple genius. A dark, but beautiful film, that is pure and meaningful, because it is so very personal. I confess, I am a layman and I know little of Bergman's work and indeed have only seen this film once. But, I loved this film. It struck a very personal reaction in me, however uninformed that reaction might be. That reaction, pure and simple is that this movie is a very personal statement about life, God and death.
This classic is filled with a lot of memorable images - from the opening scenes on the seashore to the effective concluding shots, creative thoughts are combined with some fine camera work. There are several significant or interesting questions raised by the characters - from the imagery of the "Seventh Seal" in Revelation, to their simple but important concerns about eternity - but it is the way that the visuals play off of the ideas that make the movie so worthwhile.The recreation of the medieval world is convincing and effective, with a lot of detail to set off a varied <more>
assortment of characters with different personalities and perspectives. The characters are not necessarily very deep, but most are interesting, and are worth caring about. The ways that they deal with their discouraging situation make you wonder what it would have been like to live in their world. It's also a movie that in some respects is even better to watch over again, after you already know what has happened and can then pick up even more of the detail and imagery.No doubt the somber tone and slow pace will always keep it from being widely popular, and it's not perfect, but it's satisfying in a different way, and deserves its reputation as a classic.
Intelligent and accessible with incredible imagery (by FilmOtaku)
'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 <more>