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The Seventh Seal (Criterion Special Edition) back to product details

not bad, not the greatest
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written by timh2870 March 4, 2008 - 7:37 AM PST
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
i rented this movie because it kept popping up on various "top" lists here on greencine, it is part of the criterion collection (always good stuff), and because just about everyone gave it high marks. well, it's an interesting story; halfway decent plot, but it does tend to be a little slow. interesting to see a film from that era that asks the big questions tho, "why are we here," "is there a God," and all that. not something you'd find in american film, anyway.

i found the acting to be so-so; obviously bergman drew a lot of cues from the silent era.

the most interesting part, in my opinion, was seeing a young(er) max von sydow. i guess he's one of those that has "aged like a fine wine." he definitely looks better in his more recent works (check out "what dreams may come.")

all in all, halfway decent. a must see for bergman fans, a "should see" for classic b&w fans, and if you're just curious, flip a coin before you click "rent."

Quintessential European art film
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written by Lastcrackerjack April 3, 2006 - 7:47 PM PDT
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Written and directed by Ingmar Bergman, this is perhaps "the" European art film. It has been mimed and parodied repeatedly over the years, mostly in TV cartoons. The existentialist debate and search for the meaning of life that takes place among black and white imagery of medieval Europe is the stuff that has launched many a college term paper. I saw it for the first time my freshman year of college.

The film is deeply involving. Though not an historically accurate portrait of medieval Sweden - the existential debate has much more in common with Swedes of the 1950s than those in the 14th century - Bergman's examination of pastoral life and the fear and loathing that roamed the countryside during the doomsday plague is fascinating. He is extremely critical of the clergy, who convinced villagers to go off and fight in the Crusades and now accuses the people of being responsible for the Plague. Religious figures come off no better than frauds or thieves in Bergman's view.

A soldier's despair and search for meaning is vividly portrayed in Max Von Sydow's eyes. The chess scenes he shares with Death are probably the chief reason to see the film. I was also mesmerized by the two "visions" that apparently, no one but the acrobat can see; one of the Virgin Mary walking a child and the film's seminal climactic shot, Death pulling his latest victims hand by hand across a hillside.

The film was the winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1957 and opened in the U.S. in October of 1958.

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(Average 8.31)
446 Votes
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