The seventh seal
The Seventh Seal is probably the best-known work of one of the world's great film-makers, the one which most clearly has Bergman's unmistakable signature on it. The opening scene sets the tone: a stony beach under a leaden sky, the knight alone with his thoughts, then the approach of black-clad Death, whom the knight invites to play a game of chess. Bergman's medieval allegory of faith and doubt is dark with the horrors of witch-burnings and the plague. But it is also shot through with bright flashes of peace and joy, symbolised in the milk and wild strawberries offered to the knight by an innocent family of actors. In a finely written appreciation, Melvyn Bragg describes his own first encounter as a student with this extraordinary film, and how it revealed to him another cinema, quite different from the Hollywood he had grown up with. He recounts too his later meeting with Bergman himself, and how the marks of his powerful personality are everywhere in this troubling but inspiring masterpiece.
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actors Antonius Block artist basic creative drive Bengt Ekerot Bergman on Bergman Bergman the Director Bergman wrote Bibi Andersson British Film camera cathedral celluloid chess childhood Christian cinema clown comedy culture Dance of Death dialogue direct face Fanny and Alexander father film-makers flagellants girl grandmother Gunnar Bjornstrand Gunnar Fischer Harriet Andersson Hitler Ibid Ingmar Bergman interview Irae Jons Knight landscape later Lennart lived Lutheran Church Max von Sydow medieval medium monk obsession Painting on Wood passion perhaps Peter Cowie picture plague Plog radio plays religion religious Sawdust and Tinsel scene screen screenplay script SEAL DET SJUNDE seems sense sequence seriousness Seventh Seal shot simple SJUNDE INSEGLET Skat soldiers South Bank Show Squire Squire's stage play story studios Summer with Monika Sven Nykvist Svensk Filmindustri Sweden Swedish television tell theatre wife Wigton witch
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