Wednesday, 22 December 2010

The Seventh Seal

Look at that young Max Von Sydow there...
Swedish director Ingmar Bergman is widely regarded as one of the greatest directors of all time. One of his finest achievements was the 1957 film The Seventh Seal. Featuring the iconic scene of Max Von Sydow's world-weary Knight playing chess with Death, the film has been imitated and parodied in films as diverse as Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey and Woody Allen's (a massive Bergman fan) Love and Death. These people, however, seem immune to the artful direction and thought-provoking matter of this masterpiece.
Just watched this on Blu Ray. The picture is nothing special at all, DVD quality (Well what did you expect? There's only so much that can be done with a film that is over 50 years old), although maybe better than on DVD releases, don't know, but didn't look special. The film itself made no sense at all to me (Really? I mean in the first few minutes it's slightly unclear if it has skipped back in time or not. But it's cleared up 2 minutes later... Apart from that it's perfectly straight-forward) Call me a philistine (I'll probably take you up on this offer shortly...), but no plot (There is a plot. A Knight has returned to Sweden from the Crusades and is slowly making his way back home. At this point Death comes for him. The Knight requests a game of chess against Death, in order to delay his passing until he has answered the questions that trouble him - is there a God? And, if so, is he good? He then meets various people on his journey who help him attain his answer), the dialogue made no sense (Did you forget to turn the subtitles on?), just downright weird. OK, maybe you could call it pretty (It very much is), but it's no Third Man or Citizen Kane by any stretch (I would say that, at the very least, it is close to those two films in beauty). Hugely over-rated (Nope. It's quite-rightly held up as a masterpiece by those with two brain-cells to rub together...), certainly not worth £24 to buy unless you're an existing fan of the film. Glad I rented. (Philistine)
Here's another from Amazon. This one even features outstanding grammar...:
Plenty of reviews how great it is, piece of landmark cinema (I don't know where to start to fix that bad sentence, so I won't bother. Oh, and it is, undeniably, a landmark for cinema). Honestly is rubbish, you'll never get that time back if you manage to sit through it. (In your opinion. An opinion not shared by a great many people. Many of whom are far more qualified than us to determine the artistic merits of this film. And if that's what you think qualifies as a review, then you are sorely mistaken my friend.)
Here's one from
The most atheistic, nihilistic, depressing movie I have ever seen (Why is atheism something to be hated? And anyway, the film doesn't come down on any side of the God debate). Death is preferred over life in this movie (No it isn't. Why do you think the Knight wanted to live on? Acceptance of death, and the preference for death over life are two very different things. Perhaps you should watch the film again, and actually pay attention this time...). Love is called "the blackest of all plagues" (He was trying to comfort a heart-broken man. His pint was that, as wonderful as love can be, it can also be very painful. Not, I feel, a revelation to anyone.). The message of this movie is that life is meaningless (Can't argue there. But what is so objectionable about a life with no meaning? Surely living itself is reason enough? As co-discoverer [with Francis Crick] of the structure of DNA James Watson told evolutionist Richard Dawkins, when asked what he looked forward to in place of heaven, 'I'm anticipating having a good lunch') and that ideals are ridiculous and absurd (Not at all. After all [SPOILER] the Knight gives his life so that the family can escape). I was hoping for a moral at the end of the story, but sadly, this movie is just gloomy nihilism with attractive actors (You appear to have confused this film with one of the stories from the Bible. Not all stories require a 'moral'.). Western Civilization is pining away in a morass of depressed meaninglessness bc of too many movies like this. (I think you're putting a little too much power at the feet of films... And what utter rot.)
We shall end today with a review from the rental site LOVEFiLM:
Even for a subtitled movie (no idea why i rented it (Why do you find it so offensive that a Swedish director should direct a film full of Swedish actors, in Swedish?)) it was brutal and nasty (What the fuck is that supposed to mean? It wasn't that brutal. The only possible bit I can think of, is when the girl gets burned. And you don't even see that.) and why the producer reckoned 'every human should watch it', is quite beyond me (It's because it is an utterly wonderful film with very real questions to ask), it was not a story as such and hard to follow (It was a story. It has a beginning, middle and end; characters; a plot; everything a story needs really. And as I told the guy above, it is a perfectly easy to follow), Main man played chess with death on the beach and then you have no idea even if he won (Well, the game is still in progress actually...), you assume he did, as death is nowhere to be seen for quite sometime (It's not that long. Maybe ten minutes, tops.), till he pops up again as a monk (Preist actually...) and the main man is tricked into telling him how he was winning in chess against death, so far it was just an odd story (Not that odd...), but then you meet some jesters (They're a company of actors), who are (by all accounts) odd anyway (What do you mean 'by all accounts' did you actually watch this film? If not, that would explain a lot...), they have a couple who i guess are married (Well, whilst its true it never says they are, I believe Bergman presumed the audience would be able to work it out...) and have a baby (who is left wondering around the field (He was playing in a fucking field while his parents watch on! It's not like they let him wonder all the way to Holy Land or anything.)) and a single man (who seems to have it away with any woman who shows him favour (You don't know many people do you?)) they're on stage and suddenly a procession of monks goes thru, oh my word, they're hitting each other and moaning and groaning and it is one of THE oddest things i've ever seen in my life. (Really? Have you never seen a spider baby? Seriously though, it was supposed to show how religion can make people do weird things)
They pass on through after head monk gives a speech about the end of the world. (Those head monks and their ways...)
Then into a tavern where they start to pick on one of the jesters and it really is brutal (It's not that brutal. It's not brutal like the Crusades, for example, were brutal... I've seen more brutal bullying at primary school), they make him dance while chasing him with fire, it is odd (Why is everything 'odd' to you?) and quite frankly made me feel ill and i switched it off and sent it back. (Say what? That made you ill? God you're a pussy... Also, if you switched it off at that point [which can be little more than halfway through] then you have no right to review this film.)
I really have no idea how or why i ended up with this film i can only guess i thought it was something else, i'm not one to watch forgein foreign films and now i have even more reason not to do so! (Why not? Foreign films are often wonderful. By reducing yourself only to films that are in the English language you are missing out on some of the very best films that are around. What a fucking idiot you are.)
Watch at your own risk of being sick :( (Oh fuck off you ignorant prick. If you don't like it for stupid reasons, then fine, but don't tell other people not to watch this brilliant film because of your immature hang-ups.)
I think it might take me a while to calm down after that... 

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