The Seventh Seal (1957)

Man, where do I even begin with The Seventh Seal. Definitely one of my favorite films. Directed by Ingmar Bergman in 1957, this was one of his biggest films that really established who he was as a professional and visionary.

As something of an amateur Medieval history hobbyist, I love the time period, even though it’s not technically an “accurate Middle Ages film” – it’s more like an existential crisis film, set in the Middle Ages as a very apt metaphor.

seventh seal ingmar bergman poster

The Movie

Antonius Block is a knight returning from a decade of Crusades, and finds his homeland sick and dying from the plague. It’s no wonder that his life suddenly seems very meaningless, especially as God remains silent above, unwilling to stop the disease.

As the personification of Death comes to take him away, Block begs for just a little more time – so he can finally do one single thing that really means something. All he can do to delay Death is play him in chess. Will it give him enough time? What can he possibly do in this meaningless world that makes any difference at all?

the knight plays chess with death

I Love This Movie

I mean of course. It’s a classic. I love almost everything about it.

I guess I would’ve preferred an ending that wasn’t quite as happy. Something that really underscored the meaningless of life. Instead he does find one meaningful thing to do, and succeeds. That’s still a nice ending, and it’s also fun to see him pull one over on Death. Still though, I always expect the ending to go full existentialism too. Oh well.

Also, just a small thing, but I with we knew what killed them all in the end. I mean it’s pretty obviously the plague I guess, but at what point did they get it? When, from who?

Obviously though these things don’t take away any enjoyment from the movie for me. It’s visually stunning and has great pacing, and the actors are all so perfectly cast, it just fits. I love it when a movie comes together like that.

Here was my set-up the last time I watched it:

my shrine and candles for movie watching

Just seems appropriate, y’know?