But en route, the knight, who, significantly, was disillusioned by the Crusaders and is still seeking God, comes across a little family of traveling actors who are as fresh and wholesome as the morning dew. Except that the young father of the little family has a way of seeing visions from time to time to his pretty wife's tolerant amusement , the happy couple are as normal as their chubby child.
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And it is this little family that the sad knight, still uncertain, arranges to save when he and a gathering of weary wanderers, including his defiant squire, must submit to Death at the end of the game. If this sounds a somewhat deep-dish drama, laden with obscurities and costumes, it is because the graphic style of Mr.
- The Seventh Seal.
- The Seventh Seal () | The Criterion Collection;
- Ingmar Bergman.
Bergman does not glow in a summary. It is a provocative picture, filled with intimations, that is true—some what you want to make of them and some as clear as the back of your hand. For instance, it could be that Mr. Bergman means the plague to represent all mortal fears of threats beyond likely containment that hang over modern man. Certainly, there can be little question what he means when he shows the piteous herds of anguished and self-tormenting people driven by soldiers and priests.
But the profundities of the ideas are lightened and made flexible by glowing pictorial presentation of action that is interesting and strong.
The Seventh Seal - Criterion Channel
Bergman uses his camera and actors for sharp, realistic effects. Black-robed Death is as frank and insistent as a terrified girl being hustled to the stake.
A beach and a cloudy sky are as literal and dramatic as a lusty woman's coquetries. Bergman hits you with it, right between the eyes. And his actors are excellent, from Max von Sydow as the gaunt and towering knight, through Gunnar Bjornstrand as his squire and Bengt Ekerot as Death to Maud Hansson as the piteous "witch. At the Paris, 4 West Fifty-eighth Street. Running time: minutes. Max von SydowSquire.
Gunnar BjornstrandDeath. Bengt EkerotJof.
Nils PoppeMia. Bibi AnderssonLisa. They witness first-hand the mass delirium of the villagers as they are whipped up into a religious frenzy, hoping that if they pray hard enough to God he will spare them from the Black Death. When we first see the wayfaring actors, they are full of life and love. It is morning in the countryside and nothing evil could possibly exist in this world. The married couple Andersson and Poppe has an infant son, the promise of a bright future. They even influence the faith-challenged knight, giving him hope, even for a moment. The villagers are seen as selfish survivors, trying to cheat death and finding amusement, even of a malevolent nature, wherever they can.
They terrorize Jof, the married male actor, making him perform as a dancing bear while fire licks at his feet. In contrast to this dehumanizing atmosphere the knight and squire show great compassion. The squire saves a young woman from being raped, and both master and servant try to help another young woman accused of sleeping with the devil and bringing the plague to the village.
The film was met with huge acclaim when it was released. It has been analyzed and written about by many. It is undeniably a moving, well-made film that stands the test of time. The garrulous squire has many high points in the film, from his banter with a church painter to his consoling friendship with the lovesick blacksmith.
Scenes with either of them are wonderful. Andersson, a staple in many Bergman films, captivates the viewer with her beauty and innocence. Look for their opening scene together and their crazy musical number shortly afterwards but no English subtitles. My Favorite Dialogue: Understandably, many of the most enjoyable quotes are provided by the squire.
A typical example of his musings:. Why does he hide in a cloud of half-promises and unseen miracles? How can we believe in the faithful when we lack faith?
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What will happen to us who want to believe, but can not? What about those who neither want to nor can believe? Why does He live on in me in a humiliating way — despite my wanting to evict Him from my heart? However, the knight — called Antonius Block — is capable of everyday human emotion as well.
Sitting with the actors, his squire and the girl he saved, Block reflects:. Your faces in the evening light.
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Mikael asleep, Jof with his lyre. I shall try to remember our talk. I shall carry this memory carefully in my hands as if it were a bowl brimful of fresh milk. It will be a sign to me, and a great sufficiency. Antonius Block: I want knowledge! Not faith, not assumptions, but knowledge. I want God to stretch out His hand, uncover His face and speak to me. Death: But He remains silent. Antonius Block: I call out to Him in the darkness. Antonius Block: Then life is a preposterous horror. Death: Most people think neither of death nor nothingness. Antonius Block: But one day you stand at the edge of life and face darkness.