2018 Blind Spot Series: The Seventh Seal


What I knew going in: Apparently nothing. 

A knight, Antonius Block (Max Von Sydow) and his squire (Gunnar Björnstrand) are returning home from the crusades when Block meets death personified. (Bengt Ekerot) He doesn't feel it's his time, so he challenges Death to a game of chess. As they play, their game affects the lives of others around them as the Black Death begins to sweep across the lands. 

I know I've said this before, but Ingmar Bergman is a filmmaker who I was not aware of at all until I became a movie blogger. I was never very good at looking further back into the history of cinema to begin with, so when the Blind Spot opportunity came along, I've had a Bergman film nearly every year. Why am I bringing this up again? Because in my Bergman research I mixed this film up with a different one. See, I thought this was one of the films in his Faith trilogy, which I meant to finish after watching Winter Light. I keep a lists of films I want to watch and I change the order of said lists often, Apparently somewhere down the line I messed up my Bergman one, because I was expecting this to be a heavy drama and it was essentially the opposite. 

It was kind of a nice surprise after preparing myself for it. The Seventh Seal has an airiness to it. Ekerot is startling as death. He's continuously very unsettling to look at but for a film about dying they manage not to drown in that sorrow.

Max Von Sydow was so handsome back then, I loved watching him in this. Bibi Andersson is also wonderful to watch. Unfortunately not all the other characters are as dynamic as those two. Occasionally I had trouble remembering who was who, even though this isn't a long film.

This may not have been the film I was expecting, but I enjoyed it very much. Especially with how popular it seems to be among Bergman fans.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "I want knowledge." - Antonius Block (Max Von Sydow)

16 comments:

  1. I'm so happy you enjoyed this! It's one of my all-time favorite films and it gets so much better every time I watch it. Can you believe that final dance scene on the hilltop almost didn't happen? Bergman came up with it on the spot, and thank god, because that shot will live forever.

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    1. Really? Wow, I never would've guessed that. This is one I'd definitely watch again. I'd probably rewatch all the films of his I've seen except Fanny and Alexander.

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  2. So far, this is my favourite Bergman film because there is some dark humour especially with Death. I love the questions asked about religion in this film especially since it takes place during the plague and the witch hunts.

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    1. Persona is my favorite Bergman so far. Then Smiles of a Summer Night. I'd place this one in 3rd though, I liked the questions it asked too.

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  3. So glad you liked this! It's probably my favorite Bergman that I've seen because it has so much humor. Actually all of his films that I've seen have had a good amount of humor, but this is the one where it surprised me the most. Max von Sydow is of course amazing, but the guy who plays Death is great too! Such a great face.

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    1. He does have a great face for this part. Out of the films of his I've seen, I think Smiles of a Summer Night has the most humor in it, but this comes in 2nd.

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  4. Welcome to Ingmar Bergman. This is the first film of his that I saw as I had no clue what to expect other than the chess scenes as they were parodied in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey which I heard Bergman did like. It is a great film as they're all quite complex and challenging but there's also films that are accessible as everyone needs to see a few films of his. I've probably seen nearly more than half of his films and hope to watch everything he's done.

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    1. I've only seen I think 6 of his films so far. He's definitely an interesting filmmaker.

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  5. I'm not sure I'll ever make it around to seeing this one, but I dig your take on it.

    And whatever that final dance seen is...I'm incredibly curious about that. And Death, too. And a young Max Von Snydow...dammit. I looked at the runtime...

    I think I'm in.
    (Eventually.)

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    1. Yeah, it's pretty short. Nothing like the one film of his I've seen that I would not recommend - Fanny and Alexander.

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  6. Well, as you say, sometimes knowing nothing can mean for a nice surprise.

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  7. Okay, I've now signed out of Google 16 times to say the above was from me!

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  8. I liked this, I really did but I wasn't as blown away by it as I had expected to be. I only saw it a couple of years ago and by then it's reputation loomed so large I suppose it was inevitable to be a trifle let down.

    But the imagery of it is impressive and it is a fine piece of filmmaking. It will never replace Wild Strawberries as my favorite Bergman but it's a very good film.

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    1. I liked Wild Strawberries too, but Persona is my favorite of the ones I've seen.

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