The Seventh Seal

Well – we did it: we watched The Seventh Seal in RPE301 (Love, Sex and Death) this Monday. This post is to allow RPE301 students to post their comments – but others are welcome to join in to.

Now – many think of this Bergman film as depressing and dull. I really found it neither: it was quite funny (even without thinking about the excellent Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey parody – but I will keep my opinions on the ethical profundity of Bill and Ted for another day..) -and rather optimistic – even cheerful..?

I am not sure how many will prefer the Squire to Block himself – but I think his balance to Antonius Block’s seriousness and Jon’s pragmatism is refreshing throughout. Of course, there is a lot that is pertinent to this module in here: esp in Block’s pleas for those who want to believe but can’t..

If you are stuck for where to start for comments – think about the questions at the bottom of this page from Winona State University.
Oh – there is some interesting analysis at http://course1.winona.edu/pjohnson/h140/seal2.htm – with explicit reference to existentialism. I am not sure that I agree that it is a flaw in the script that Block does not have to sacrifice anything in order to find what he looks for (when he knocks the pieces over to aid the escape of the Acrobats/Players and child). Also – are you convined by the claim in this analysis that Block’s ceaseless questioning prevents him from being able to “hear the still, small voice of God”? Lots to comment on in this analysis though!
Dave
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2 thoughts on “The Seventh Seal

  1. “Want to believe but can’t…” resonated with me, at least to a degree. And No, I for one are not convinced with the “…ceaseless questioning prevents him from being able to “hear the still, small voice of God…” rebuffel.I came into this film with NO background knowledge of it whatsoever, and I agree with dave; I found it highly amusing and very optimistic, although i doubt thats what bergman intended is it?

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  2. I seem to be irritated by everything. When I think about oppressors I get irritated by their greed and justification for exploitation – and at the same time, I get irritated by victims who whine about the influence of others when things don’t go as planned, i.e. blame, and “chips on shoulders”. I get irritated by an abundant world and so much poverty and at the same time I get irritated by advertisements with opulent,liberal-minded celebrities who T-shirt “make poverty history”. And then, sometimes I just think I’m a moody, old cow, nothing makes me happy and maybe I should just keep my opinions to myselfAnd then there’s The Seventh Seal which I love! I am so happy to find something that I think is honest, intelligent, humourous. Except, I may as well say, the earnestness of Antonius Block gets on my nerves sometimes. “…the still, small voice of God…” If God IS God, and there IS a God, Antonius Block, wouldn’t you think His voice would be great and booming and magnificent; why look for a mouse when you are looking for God?! Anyhow. Block aside. His squire, Jons, is a wonderful character. While Block is busy regulating all things immaterial, Jons is regulating all things material – the rest of the characters. Plog asks Jons, “Have you seen my wife?” and Jons answers, “Well, if she looks like you, I wouldn’t remember.” While Plog is in negotiations to get his wife Lisa (Konigunda) back from Skat, Jons is in the background with commentary – in a witty Cyrano way at times. It’s funny, good dialogue. When the performance of the actors is interrupted by the performance of the self-flagellaters and the monk, we are in for one of the best speeches in the film. The monk takes it upon himself to hurl abuse and blame targeted at individual members of his congregation. He wonders who Death, for punishment from God, will strike next. He directs an insult at an abundant young woman, “… And you woman, blooming with appetite and lust for life, will you drop before the dawn?.” And to a man, “You there, staring like a goat, before evening will your mouth be distorted into a last, unfinished yawn?” And to everybody, “Do you know, you confirmed idiots, that you are all going to die … You are all condemned …. Condemned …condemned!” Jons prophetically says after this speech, “This bloody talk of doom. Is that sustenance for a modern man? Do they really think we’ll take them seriously?….” In the next scene in the pub a group of villagers are talking about “the times”, superstitious talk. A woman says, “They talk of the Last Day. And all the omens certainly are terrible. A woman gave birth to a calf’s head.” And, finally, I like Jons method of courtship: he addresses a pleasing you woman “I could have raped you, but come on, I need a housekeeper.” Sorted Anyhow. Enough. I could go on about many other wonderful moments in the film. But one last thing, as a film and visual, I think it is beautiful to look at, nothing offensive to the eye. It is a nice little touch with the squirrel squirmishing over the tree trunk that Death had just sawn to fell Skat

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