A Knight and his squire are home from the crusades. Black Death is sweeping their country. As they approach home, Death appears to the knight and tells him it is his time. The knight challenges Death to a chess game for his life. The Knight and Death play as the cultural turmoil envelopes the people around them as they try, in different ways, to deal with the upheaval the plague has caused. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
What makes The Seventh Seal - an apocryphal and uncompromising fable of medieval Sweden - one of the masterpieces of Cinema ? Ingmar Bergman creates a believable world of dark happenings, wherein Death can play chess with a Knight, witches burn at the stake, with flagellants, and plague ever present. Through superb black and white images, each carefully composed for maximum effect, sets and costumes, his fine actors seem to truly inhabit this frightening world. Max von Sydow, Gunnar Bjornstrand, and Bengt Ekerot lead a marvelous cast. But its not all doom and gloom, as the Knight tries to determine in his quest, the meaning of life, and if God exists at all. There are moments of sheer happiness and peace, such as the sequence of the milk and strawberries at dusk, and a number of bawdy comic moments throughout the film. Which balances the darker side. It is unforgettable and I still remember seeing it on its first release, being stunned by the quality of the photography, and the performances. A restored version on DVD is recommended. Bergman is one of the great film makers of our time. Seldom today do we see such precise and considered images on the screen. Not to be missed.
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