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January 26, 2006

The Seventh Seal - 7

This may be Ingmar Bergman's best film, in my opinion. It has a similar theme to his other films but has a more ominous tone. The whole film has a sort of apocalyptic feel as it is during the time of the crusades and there is Black Plague ravaging Sweden. Throughout the film Revelation is quoted, that is where this film gets its name.
"When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them. The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up. The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water, the name of the star is Wormwood." (Rev. 8: 1-2, 5-11)
Bergman's theme of silence is the key part of this passage and the characters who are sensing the coming events predicted, are struggling to believe their eyes and ears, andultimatelyy are on the search for meaning. The main character, a knight returning form a crusade plays a chess game with death throughout the film. He is constantly trying to understand the silence, and has doubts about the possibility of God's existence. It seems there is either a God who punishes and is damning or their is just the void; emptiness. In the end, "Mary and Joseph" continue their journey with there young infant, having been saved from the plague (Rev. 12: 1-6).

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