from JudasChrist - Saturday, September 20, 2003
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I have posted a film review here (and will post more). This one and future reviews R not solely based on my hatred for religion. Some may actually have a pro-christian/religious stance. (Ben Hur for instance, superb acting and cinematography).
(Special Thanks 2 R.E. and Research Triangle).
THE SEVENTH SEAL!
Director Ingmar Bergman's, "The Seventh Seal," is an exploration of life, death and humor in the face of both. Essentially, that is all one needs in order to understand the actions of this film, such as, the chess match between Death and Antonius Block, a noble knight returning from the Crusades. Bergman's bleak search for answers between this noble but spiritually doubting knight (played with exquisite confusion and quiet chaos by Max Von Sydow) could not be set in a better environment than in Europe during the Black Plague where humanity suffered and Death seemingly lurked behind every corner. The chess game between Death and this knight is symbolic of our natural tendency to resist the inevitable.
Antonius Block: Wait a moment!
Death: You all say that. But I grant no reprieves.
If, so far, this film sounds awfully depressing, it is. However, it is intended to be so and its raucous humor may seem wildly out of place, but laughter is a natural human reaction to disaster. The imminence of extinction cannot possibly be purveyed anymore powerfully than in this film, and it is a frightening reflection to behold. But the power behind Bergman's brilliant film is the power to induce a viewer into nervous laughter with near-slapstick moments and occasional irreverence. These scenes, both humorous and horrific, lead to the classic dance of the dead scene at the film's conclusion that portrays death not as a misery, but as a celebration.
Bergman's tale of fear, doubt and resistance in death's hands is an occasion in cinema blessed with the power to never lose potentcy despite its age. Though made in 1956, key scenes like Antonious Block's confessional expressing doubt about god's existence (a brilliant scene and the film's grandest moment)or his search for God's presence in a young lady's eyes while she is being crucified, all make for an easily understandable exploration regarding the inevitable and unknown that is timeless.
The most brilliant aspect of this startling and beautiful art piece is the conclusion that finds peace among its questions and faith in the unknown. To find reassurance in this film is not difficult if one is willing to believe Bergman's faith. T faith of "The Seventh Seal" does contain a belief in a God and a humorous opinion on man's actions that are soothing and, more importantly, universal.