Sunday, 17 August 2014

Not exactly a murder mystery...

I watched Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal yesterday and was totally blown away by how good it was!  I know that sounds incredibly stupid and naive seeing as it's an acknowledged classic, but for some reason I thought the film would literally be two guys playing chess on a beach.  And let's face it, that sounds pretty boring.  Happily, it's so much more than that.

It seems to encompass every major human emotional state.  There's love (maternal and carnal), fear of death, jealousy, greed, pride - the list goes on!  I know these seem quite dark, but there's plenty of witty banter and even a slightly Carry On-esque seduction between the manager of the acting troupe and a saucy maiden.  All it's missing is the Benny Hill theme tune!

My favourite scene is a beautiful moment where the knight's party is sitting enjoying 'freshly milked milk' and wild strawberries with the travelling actors.  It feels like an oasis of tranquility, and it's so honest and realistic that it took me straight back to summer holidays when I was a child.  When it felt like we had all the time in the world to just hang out.  There was no rush to get things done, no pressure, no deadlines, no horizons.  We were simply enjoying life!

This was the first time I'd seen Max Von Sydow in a Swedish speaking role, and I found it quite fun visualising him as Ming the Merciless, or Frederick in Hannah and Her Sisters.  He's also a lot younger here than I'd ever seen him before, and I'm sure they consciously styled him to make the most of his killer cheekbones.
Finally, I think Death looks rather like Darth Vader without his helmet - what do you think?
Hi, I'm Death, fancy a game of chess?

So for anyone who hasn't already seen the film, I'd like to strongly recommend that you do.  I mean that I STRONGLY RECOMMEND you see this film, it's a deserved classic.

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