Cinema History: the Seventh Seal

Topics: The Seventh Seal, Chess, Ingmar Bergman Pages: 3 (1056 words) Published: April 28, 2010
Ingmar Bergman’s film, Seventh Seal, reflects his views on life in an allegorical fashion. Bergman utilizes the setting of a medieval, plague-ridden landscape to metaphorically investigate the existence of god and meaning of life. The film follows the knight, Antonius, as he returns from the Crusades with his squire, Jöns. Bergman uses black and white to enhance the mood. The film’s vivid imagery and powerful score challenge the viewer to interpret the film’s messages and assign them meaning. The film investigates the deepest philosophical questions of humanity. Compared with Akira Kurosawa’s film, Ikiru, the Seventh Seal expresses a darker outlook on the world. Bergman’s cinematic masterpiece remains a relevant work of art in a world that struggles to address the deepest questions of religion and the phenomena of simply being alive. Seventh Seal begins with a shot of the heavens as a powerful orchestrated piece of music plays. A passage from the Book of Revelation is recited, "And when the Lamb had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour," (Revelation 8:1). Antonius and Jöns lie on a beach of pebbles. The land is framed proportional to the sky, juxtaposing the kingdoms of heaven and earth. A chess set sits to the right of Antonius. The camera pans away from him, zooming in on the chess pieces. It symbolically equates Antonius as a piece of the game. A man cloaked in black approaches, revealing himself to be death. He states that he has come for them. Antonius challenges him to a chess match. Death agrees that if Antonius is able to defeat death he shall go free. The game is continued throughout the film. As Antonius and Jöns move along their journey, death continuosly lurks as an ominous force. The film constantly makes references to death and uncertainty through the presents of the plague. The sky in the background is often cloudy as though God is absent from the heavens and oblivious to the suffering on earth. In...

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