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The Seventh Seal

Ingmar Bergman
Det sjunde inseglet
Sweden 1957 / 96’
Summer with Monika Wild Strawberries

There's a specter making its way around medieval Europe-the dark specter of death. Epidemics are decimating the population, and acts of violence are widespread. As if the atmosphere weren't already oppressive enough, a procession of flagellates is wandering from village to village to remind ordinary people that the end awaits everyone. A knight named Antonius Block, returning home from the Crusades along with his squire, is all too aware of the volatility of life. Time and again, he is visited by the black-clad Grim Reaper, and they play chess together, as the knight tries to delay the moment when darkness will fall irrevocably. Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal is a fable about confronting death. In an article written after Bergman's death, American film critic J. Hoberman calls this famous film an openly existential spectacle, a costume version of Camus' The Plague.

Piotr Mirski


Cannes IFF 1957 – Jury Special Prize

Ingmar Bergman

Ingmar Bergman was one of the most important filmmakers in the history of artistic cinema. Born in 1918, he died in 2007 on the very same day that another legend passed away, Michelangelo Antonioni. He began his career in the film industry by correcting screenplays for others. He gained directorial experience as an assistant to Alf Sjöberg on Torment, for which he wrote the script. He made his directorial debut with Crisis. He gained international fame thanks to Smiles of a Summer Night, and then cemented his position with The SeventhSeal and Wild Strawberries, filmed shortly thereafter. The coming years and decades brought him even more success. He regularly worked with cinematographer Sven Nykvist and actors such as Harriet Andersson, Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow. He also worked in the theater.

Selected filmography

1946 Kryzys / Kris / Crisis

1953 Wakacje z Moniką / Sommaren med Monika / Summer with Monika

1955 Uśmiech nocy / Sommarnattens leende / Smiles of a Summer Night

1957 Siódma pieczęć / Det sjunde inseglet / The Seventh Seal

1957 Tam, gdzie rosną poziomki / Smultronstället / Wild Strawberries

1960 Źródło / Jungfrukällan / The Virgin Spring

1961 Jak w zwierciadle / Såsom i en spegel / Through a Glass Darkly

1966 Persona

1972 Szepty i krzyki / Viskningar och rop / Cries and Whispers

1973 Sceny z życia małżeńskiego / Scener ur ett äktenskap / Scenes from a Marriage (TV)

1977 Jajo węża / The Serpent's Egg

1978 Jesienna sonata / Höstsonaten / Autumn Sonata

1983 Fanny i Aleksander / Fanny och Alexander / Fanny and Alexander (TV)

2003 Sarabanda / Saraband (TV)

Cast & Crew

director Ingmar Bergman
screenplay Ingmar Bergman
cinematography Gunnar Fischer
editing Lennart Wallén
music Erik Nordgren
cast Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Bengt Ekerot, Nils Poppe, Bibi Andersson
producer Allan Ekelund
production Svensk Filmindustri (SF)
sales Ambasada Szwecji
language Swedish, Latin
colouration b&w