The Seventh Seal
Directed by Ingmar Bergman
HOME, 21 March 2018
A knight plays chess with Death as a bird of prey circles overhead.
He has come back from the Crusades to a land ravaged by plague and in chaotic disarray. There is a troupe of travelling actors who perform carnival plays and sing bawdy songs. A procession of priests and penitents interrupt them, holding a pole with the crucified Christ aloft. Carrion souls steal from the dead. In a tavern, one of the actors is bullied and humiliated and mocked. It is a capricious, xenophobic world full of casual cruelty and enervating foreboding.
Yet it is solemn and mysterious too, where the best bet against oblivion is faith in the legend of the man who said he was the Son of God.
It is clear that Roger Corman took much from this film when he made The Masque of the Red Death. They are very different films, that is true, but there is the same medieval world. Why, even the main actors in each, Max von Sydow and Vincent Price, have a similar screen presence. Both are tall and imposing with wonderful voices.
Anyway, an undisputed masterpiece.