More shame…Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal

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How many times have I seen the above image and never knew what it was from. How shameful is that?

The recent sale on Criterion titles at Barnes & Noble has drastically changed my list of shame. So many titles both favorites and films I’ve never seen. I personally have never seen any films directed by Ingmar Bergman. I know of his films and reputation, yet nothing seemed to interest me. Until I was on the Criterion website and watched the trailer for The Seventh Seal. A film that gives the appearance of a period drama, but in fact is a live action allegory for the man who loses faith.

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Antonius Block (played by Max Von Sydow) is a knight who has just returned from battle in the Crusades. After leaving for war strong in his faith, fighting for God, Block is wavering in his faith. He wants knowledge that God exists and is listening to him. While on a beach with his squire Block sees Death standing before him ready to claim his life. Block decides to challenge Death to a game of chess in order to prolong his life.

I loved this film from start to finish. I am not much of an Art House cinema guy. I am definitely much more Hollywood in my viewing. But what I loved about this was how Hollywood it felt even though it’s a Swedish film. High production values also shine for me as this is one beautifully shot picture. In particular the scene of Block and Death sitting down to begin their game.

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I also love how although this film is meant to be much more than what we see on the screen and what the actual story is about, it’s themes stand out to me without being explicitly stated or preached. Block has become disillusioned. He wants to know if his faith had meaning, yet when Death comes for him, he wants to stall in order to try to fulfill something meaningful in his life. These are the things that as Christian should want to do. Find ways of service to others. This leads me to think that by the end of the film, Block regains what he thought he lost.

The Seventh Seal is a brilliant film that I would recommend to anyone. Cinephile or not. Great technical work, solid acting, and easy to identify themes. I once was ashamed, but now no more.

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My List by @campbelldropout

First of all, I want to thank @007hertzrumble for putting this site together and his excitement for this project/adventure and for paying attention to my twitter posts (finally someone pays attention to me). Second, I want to thank @QuelleLove and @LaurasMiscMovie for creating and discussing a list of classic films they will watch in 2014 which gave me the idea of creating a list of classic films that I need to see for the year.

Now the films I have chosen to watch over the next year are consider the classics, either classic in the sense of all film history or classic to a specific genre or both. I believe most of these films will fall under both. There are various reasons I have not seen these films but I have narrowed it down to three.

  1. Time – Out of the 12 films I have picked only two are under 100 minutes long. It’s tough to find time to watch a 100 minute film let alone a 150 minute film.
  2. Netflix – Instead of sitting down watching Citizen Kane (run time 119 minutes), I end up watching Stolen (run time 96 minutes) with Nicolas Cage. I never seem to learn my lesson and always fall for this trap.
  3. Critical reception – These are some of the greatest films ever made but what if I dislike them or worse cannot understand what is going on. Well, this is really no longer an issue, but I believe it is one reason why I didn’t watch these films when I was younger. If I watched The Godfather and hated it, did that mean I could never be a film lover?

Below is my list of films for the year, I have switched three films around in order to complete a film for this month. The first film was originally going to be Blade Runner but I have pushed that to February because I wanted to watch the theatrical version of the film and not the director’s cut. For this month I will be watching On the Waterfront and hope to have a post up by next Thursday discussing the film.

January – On the Waterfront (January 30, 2014)

February – Blade Runner (February 27, 2014)

March – The Wild Bunch (March 27, 2014)

April – Infernal Affairs (April 24, 2014)

May – Seven Samurai (May 29, 2014)

June – Citizen Kane (June 26, 2014)

July – The Godfather (July 31, 2014)

August – The Godfather: Part II (August 28, 2014)

September – Taxi Driver (September 25, 2014)

October – Halloween (October 30, 2014)

November – Seventh Seal (November 27, 2014)

December – It’s a Wonderful Life (December 26, 2014)