Thursday, July 19, 2007

Death Celebrates Half Century

Among films with a chess motif (or scene) the 1957 Swedish film The Seventh Seal is perhaps one of the most memorable. But for my money nothing beats the original Thomas Crown Affair. This year The Seventh Seal is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary Stephen Applebaum pays a tribute:

Settling down to watch the film for its 50th anniversary release, I wondered whether it was possible to take it seriously today. I quickly discovered that even after all the chuckling homages, The Seventh Seal still stands as a thought-provoking rumination on the existence of God, faith, love, and the fear of death.

An existential drama par excellence, it yokes Cold War anxieties (nuclear annihilation becomes the Black Death) to Bergman's personal demons, riffing on philosophical ideas found in Strindberg, Camus and Kierkegaard. Does God exist? If He doesn't, what is the meaning of life? If He does and one has no faith, what then? Bergman walks his characters, and us, to the edge of the abyss, and points his camera directly into it.

From the Scotsman.

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