The Seventh Seal, Trailer
The Seventh Seal
Long acclaimed as a cinematic masterpiece, The Seventh Seal is a stunning allegory of a man's search for the meaning of life. Ingmar Bergman's best known and perhaps his greatest film which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1957, where it won the Special Jury Prize.
Undoubtedly one of the most influential films of all time, The Seventh Seal has been admired and referenced by an impressive array of directors such as Woody Allen, John Boorman, Paul Verhoeven, Terry Gilliam and Martin Scorsese in their films.
The iconic image of death has made an intriguing journey from European Art Cinema to popular mainstream culture. The central image of Death and the Knight playing chess is one of the most indelible images in cinema history and like the Dance of Death finale has been parodied in countless films and television programmes including Woody Allen's Love And Death and Deconstructing Harry, Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life, Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey, The Last Action Hero, Torremolinos 73 (as a backdrop for a 70s porn shoot), Buffy The Vampire Slayer and French & Saunders.
As the Black Death continues to wipe out the population of Europe, Knight Antonius Block (Max Von Sydow) returns from the Crusades, disillusioned and worn. When suddenly Death appears before him, he asks for the chance to live, proposing a game of chess to decide his fate.
The knight takes his squire, a troupe of traveling players and a deaf and dumb girl under his protection as the game is played out. One by one Death exacts his toll, and it is up to Block to stall his opponent for as long as possible if he is to help save the lives of those he is trying to protect.
All the while, the villages and towns about them fall further into ruin and religion takes a stranglehold on those desperate for a means of survival. They meet many examples of fear, superstition, cruelty and suffering along the way - a troop of flagellants, a seminary student turned thief and a young girl about to be burned at the stake as a witch.
At last they reach the knight's castle where his wife awaits him. But the game is over and Death has won. After upsetting the pieces in order to give his family time to escape, the knight and those he has met on his way through the countryside, are lead off and join the Dance of Death.
Starring: Max Von Sydow, Bengt Ekerot