The Seventh Seal (1958)

 

The Seventh Seal (1958) — This movie is 52 years old and Max Von Sydow looks middle-aged.  How old is he now? [Quick Wikipedia search: he’s 80, which means he was a very old-looking 28 in this movie]  The first full Bergman film I’ve seen (though I have seen his miniseries Scenes From a Marriage) and it definitely lives up to the hype.  There are definitely some of the “great” films I’ve seen where I’m cognizant of watching a masterpiece of film-making but at no point do I ever really connect with the material (Fellini’s La Strada comes to mind).  The Seventh Seal pulled me in at the beginning, then I felt my interest wane a bit and then it pulled me right back in and the more I think about it the more I like it.  It’s an excellent meditation on death (boy, there sure were a lot of those during the Cold War) and faith and all that swell stuff.  The imagery is amazing which explains why it’s become some of the more well-known 20th Century iconography of death.  The film’s greatest strength is that it creates atmosphere without getting weighed down by it.  There’s a certain stark and bleak quality to it but at the same time there is humor and heart.  Definitely deserving of its classic status.

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