The Seventh Seal

From Everything Shii Knows, the only reliable source

This website is an archive. It ran from 2006-2010. Virtually everything on here is outdated or inaccurate.

The Seventh Seal is an Ingmar Bergman film which tackles death in a fashion which must have seemed horridly confrontational at the time but now seems overspecifically Christian to me. I mean, this prince guy is gripped with existential angst about being unsure if he can meet God or Satan. In the world of the film, neither is there to comfort him; Death is the only sure thing. To some this may seem like a cause for despair, but to me it smacked of fitting life into one-sided Western forms. God, Satan, and Death are all names we have ascribed to the general metaphysical mish-mash; even the corpse they meet at the beginning of the movie is only "dead" insofar as it is clear from context that it was once a living being but is no more. When it becomes a fertilizer for the grass it will hardly be dead anymore. The judgments we make and feelings we attribute to these things are our own invention. If the prince were Buddhist he'd be handling this subject from quite a different approach. Personally, I preferred the outlook of the mute handmaiden.

The imagery of the film still makes it a must-watch. The use of black and white is unlike anything else. A lesser artist, for example, an American comic book artist, would simply cover the screen in blackness when Death arrived on the scene. Bergman knows better how to make a contrast a contrast. Death, in his pitch-black cape, stands in the midst of physical scenery. His whitened face is genuinely spooky. The flagellants and monks are also portrayed with overwhelming boldness.

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