Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Seventh Seal (1957)

The first and only film by Ingmar Bergman that I've watched was Persona, and I remember being awed, at the same time confused, by it. It was truly a different cinematic experience and that sparked my passion to discover such kinds of films even more. My expectation for The Seventh Seal is, naturally, high.
Directed by:  Ingmar Bergman
Original Swedish Title: "Det sjunde inseglet"
Starring:  Max von Sydow, Bengt Ekerot
Cinematography:  Gunnar Fischer
Running Time:  96 mins
I'll make this short. Striking visuals, unforgettable characters, great cast - this film transports you to another dimension. But mid-way I was a bit torn between really liking this film or kicking it towards my "overrated artsy fartsy" list. At times, the actors felt so goofy in a juvenile way and I wondered, how is this really a masterpiece? Now before you question my intellect or taste, let me tell you that I'm all for weird, old films, and like I've said I loved my first Bergman. Even the weirdest of all weird Eraserhead  mesmerized me - and there's a lady in that guy's radiator I'm tellin' ya! This one, on the other hand, was so-so when it comes to holding my attention, but maybe it's because I was feeling hungry & distracted at midnight while watching.

And yet, there's something about this film that screams "classic" in a quirky kind of way. The photography & cinematography is something else - there's always something so striking in every scenes and I can't help but be amazed by Bergman's attention to details. Max von Sydow is intriguing, and Death, played by Bengt Ekerot, even more so! I wish the whole film was focused on these two - that would have been more interesting! Oh, and that scene with the "witch" is also one of my favorite parts.

The whole thing about God, Life & Death is something that fascinates me, and combined with Bergman's shots and Fischer's cinematography, the themes tackled made me forget that I was momentarily bored by the other characters' seemingly random scenes. This is a great pick for film buffs who enjoy an intellectual art film, but I must say that this isn't for everybody.

I wouldn't elaborate on the philosophical meanings of this film and all that - well because I'm sure we all have our interpretation, you don't need mine. I admit I was partly distracted when Death & Sydow aren't onscreen, but I would definitely give this a rewatch in the future, because Ekerot is so damn cool! 

A MOOT RATING:  4/5 - the themes and visuals made me rate this higher.

*Photos/GIFs courtesy of Tumblr.

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  1. I agree, I am all for weird also , and this film demonstrated a sure sense, it was a Bergman film.. I love his films, they send a message, if one pays close attention.. I feel anyone who watches his work may get different messages, but all in good time he makes us watch and wait for the pleasure of his most unique mind of ideas.. Loved your review. Great job !!! And I too liked the witch scene. :)

    1. Bergman imo is one of the greatest directors in this universe. I've only watched two of his films, but from what i saw, his works are unique and striking. It's not just art for the sake of art, but it really sticks to you. I'm excited to see more of his films

  2. I am curious to ask you as a writer, " what did you feel in the scene with the young witch on the cross as Max von Sydow asked her to tell him about the devil ? "

    1. *SPOILERS*

      Well, I might have been distracted with some scenes, but I was 100% interested with Sydow's character and the movie's thematic flavors. What was striking for me in that scene is after everything we tried to believe in our life, all the faith, all the religion - when it's time to die, what if the only thing we see is not a flash of light and a guiding hand from heavens? what if the only thing we see is Death? That there's no more after that. We just lived, we existed, then we die. There's nothing else waiting for us but Death.



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