The Seventh Seal

Ingmar Bergman (1957)

Max Von Sydow, Gunnar Bjornstrand, Bengt Ekerot Rated PG Run time 92 mins



“Faith is a torment. It is like loving someone who is out there in the darkness but never appears, no matter how loudly you call.”

Winner at the 1957 Cannes Film Festival of the Special Jury Prize.

50 years after its release Ingmar Bergman’s landmark art movie The Seventh Seal retains its ability to hold an audience spellbound.

When disillusioned Swedish knight Antonius Block returns home from the Crusades to find his country in the grips of the Black Death, he challenges Death to a chess match for his life. Tormented by the belief that God does not exist, Block sets off on a journey, and becomes determined to evade Death long enough to commit one redemptive act while he still lives.

The images of a knight playing chess with Death and of Death leading a communal dance are two images that Ingmar Bergman saw as a boy in churches. They suggest the inevitability of death, no matter the strategies we employ: All must eventually dance with him.

92% – Rotten Tomatoes
8.2/10 – IMDB

“90 minutes of iconic imagery, some deep questions and a surprising amount of humor. This is Art with a capital A, but that doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining at the same time, which only makes its artistry even greater.”

“The movie is an unbending breakdown of the human soul, and perhaps one of the finest – and most confrontational – ever made.”

“Bergman’s visually striking medieval morality play [was] the work that gained him an international reputation.”