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52 Seventh Seal, The 
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Post Re: 52 Seventh Seal, The
So many of the images of The Seventh Seal are iconic and not a one of them indicates how entertaining this movie really is. Rewatching it last night I was reminded that Bergman was able to find, in a fairly somber set of circumstances, a lot of real humor: some broader moments even reminded me of Woody Allen (!) and, to a lesser degree, something Mel Brooks would have done. Really.

But I suppose in a movie where most of the talk is about God's silence (or lack of existence) it's tough to see where Bergman would relax and let his hair down. But, and this I feel more strongly about, the movie is anything but cold and precisely analytical. There's a human element that is easy to connect with and characters (Jof in particular) that are entirely realized. Somehow this film has gotten a reputation of being "that movie", the one you are familiar enough through the books and copied images to disregard. It's probably too late to see a popular renaissance of The Seventh Seal but the movie remains vastly entertaining and approachable. Yes, it's about death and God and some of the other Big Questions but it's also a movie about people interacting as people really do. The reputation it has as being exceedingly difficult is undeserved and seems to have been bestowed on it by people who haven't even seen a second of it. Ridiculous.

I'm no expert on film; I have a slightly above-average grasp of the technical details and whatever skill I have at working with symbols, metaphor and the like I've gotten from literature. I'd call this one a great introductory picture for the budding film enthusiast. Not just for the iconic stuff (playing chess with death, etc.) but for a good example of how much Bergman really cared for his characters as people, not just symbols to work with. It's not a perfect movie but it definitely is a movie that has earned its reputation as being great -- if you go in looking only for cold, analytical discourse you'll be disappointed. The Seventh Seal is almost sweet, of all things.


Sun Apr 04, 2010 3:54 am
Post Re: 52 Seventh Seal, The
I loved this movie. Max von Sydow is one of those actors who's good in everything, and this is probably the best thing he's ever done. For all that this film has been parodied, there are so many brilliant scenes that deserve to be iconic that get overlooked.

I'm an atheist and a rehabilitated Catholic, so perhaps my background makes me uniquely susceptible to viewing films like this one as parables. You don't have to be religious to understand what's happening in The Seventh Seal. You just have to be human.


Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:23 am
Post Re: 52 Seventh Seal, The
I'm genuinely surprised that there were never any comments for this one. I guess it was discussed in other Bergman threads.

My opinion is a slightly different one. I think it has a lot to do with expectations though. I had always heard of Bergman and knew that he was one of the greatest of all time. The plot synopsis, that is, a man playing chess with death is one of the most fascinating I had ever heard. Then you see the stills from the film, particularly those of the knight and death playing chess at the shore and you think this is probably one of the greatest films of all time. So, when I actually looked at the movie I expected more awesome chess playing and less time spent with, say, a travelling troupe of actors. I gave it a solid 7/10, but overall this was a great disappointment for me since, going in, I was hoping this was a 10.

On the other hand, I went into Wild Strawberries without knowing a single thing about the film and ended up loving it completely. Strange how things work out.


Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:39 pm
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Post Re: 52 Seventh Seal, The
You guys have made some great points. I think this is the most accessible Bergman movie out there, so if you wanted to get into him, this is where I recommend starting. Now I haven't seen the movie in a couple of months, but I agree with Ken: this is very much a parable.

But yes, it is somewhat confusing when you have to watch the acting troupe for so long. But I suppose it all plays together - it wouldn't be Bergman if it didn't.

I wish I had more to say about this one, but I'm really just passing time in my 8am class... so sorry...


Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:33 am
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