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Det Sjunde Inseglet

The Seventh Seal
Das Siebte Siegel

Sweden 1957
produced by
Svensk Filmindustri
directed by Ingmar Bergman
starring Max Von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Nils Poppe, Bengt Ekerot, Bibi Andersson, Ake Fridell, Inga Gill, Erik Strandmark, Bertil Anderberg, Gunnel Lindblom, Maud Hansson, Inga Landgré, Anders Ek, Gunnar Olson, Lars Lind, Gudrun Brost, Ulf Johansson, Bengt-Ake Benktsson
written by Ingmar Bergman, based on his play Trämalning, cinematography by Gunnar Fischer, music by Erik Nordgren

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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HAving just arrived back to Sweden from 10 years on the cursades, knight Antonius Block (Max Von Sydow) is visited by the personified Death (Bengt Ekerot), wanting to take Block with him. Block however challenges him to a game of chess for his life, wanting before death find an answer to his questions ... Death agrees.

Soon, Block & his squire Jöns (Gunnar Björnstrand) wander the Swedish countryside, but what they find here is not any better than the horrors they had found in war: The country is brought down by the plague, people have taken to witchhunting, killing innocents in the name of the church,  others have taking to thieving & raping, includijng Raval (Bertil Anderberg), who has persuaded them to go on the crusades 10 years ago, & flagellants, people publicly lashing themselves/each other to repent for their sins, are touring the countryside, setting a gruesome example for the already scared populace.

Meanwhile a group of travelling actors: Jof (Nils Poppe) & Mia (Bibi Andersson) with their sbaby son Michael & their director Skat (Erikk Strandmark) are travelling the countryside, doing the best they can to make a living by staging morality plays in front of (& actually hired by) churches, & only Jof's unshakeable optimism keeps them going ... but even this optimism is put to a test when Skat seduces Lisa (Inga Gill), the wife of Plog (Ake Fridell) a smith,, & for some reason Jof gets badly beaten up for it. (Skat by the way soon afterwards, while running from Plog, has a meeting with Death, who saws down the tree he's hiding on - with the expected consequences.)

Soon, Block & his squire, plus a girl (Gunnel Lindblom) Jöns has picked up as his housekeeper, meet up with Jof, Mia & son and Plog & wife, & they decide to team up & travel to Block's castle, where they consider themselves relatively safe.

On the journey though, they meet a witch (Maud Hansson) about to be burned, & Block is shocked how little he can do to save, even help her ...

That same night, Block is visited by Death again, & they conclude their game ... which Block drags out just long enough so Jof can see them & make good an escape with his wife & child. Death wins the game & promises, when he comes back the next time, to  collect Block & all those who are with him.

The next day, the group arrives at Block's castle, where his wife (Inga Landgré) has been awaiting him - for ten years. ut that same night, Death comes by again, & takes them all with him, disappointing Block one last time as not even he has the answers Block has so unsuccessfully been looking for.

Jof, having successfully escaped with his family, & having always had visions, sees Death & his erstwhile companions going to the netherworld, while he, with life & child, goes into a (hopefully) brighter future ...

 

As one would come to expect from Ingmar Bergman, this film is heavy on strong, symbolic images & paints a grim, nihilistic picture of the Dark Ages, deriving them of all their glamour but emphasizing on the horrors. The outcome is a film strong on atmospherebut also (intentionally) pretty depressing. Not something you would want to show at a party but a genuine work of art that bears repeated viewing.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner

 

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