El séptimo sello

Igmar Bergman, 1956
Reparto: Gunnar Björnstrand (Jons), Bngt Ekerot (la muerte), Max von Sydow (Antonius Block), Bibi Anderson (Mia), Inga Gill (Lisa)
La razón y la fe

Antonius Block vuelve de las Cruzadas con su escudero. Descansa en una playa donde la muerte viene a recogerlo. Antonius le ofrece una partida de ajedrez para ganar tiempo, si gana, la muerte le perdonará la vida. El caballero necesita el tiempo que dura la partida para resolver una gran pregunta: que hay detrás. Viaja camino de su castillo que está cerca de Elsinore (El castillo de Hamlet), conoce a un grupo de cómicos a los que la muerte también reclama para sí. Encuentra a una bruja que va a ser quemada por tener tratos con el diablo, le inquiere acerca del diablo, quiere hablar con él para que él resuelva su duda.

Unos dicen que el tema de la película es moral. Antonius busca el sentido de la existencia y pregunta a la bruja condenada por Satanás, pero ella no sabe nada. Su maldad es por tanto una invención. Jof, uno de los cómicos, inventa historias sobre Jesús, y también cree ver a la muerte bailando. Su visión también puede ser un sueño. Bergman se complace no aclarando ninguna verdad.

También hay quien ve en ella una obra de terror. Pero no hay cosa menos terrorífica que ver la cara del enemigo. La visión de la muerte jugando su partida es una imagen aséptica, abstracta. El duelo carece de misterio y, sospecho que voluntariamente, de fuerza.

“Who are you”, asks Block.
“I am Death,” the figure replies.
“Have you come to get me?”
“Wait a minute.”
“Everyone says that.”
“But I don’t grant any reprieves.”
“You play chess don’t you? I’ve seen it in paintings and heard it in songs.”
Kiyoaky: Según la Biblia, los sellos son acontecimientos simbólicos a los que hará frente el pueblo de Dios desde la resurreción y ascensión de Jesús hasta su segundo advenimiento en la tierra. Concretamente, en el Séptimo Sello, siete ángeles tocan cada uno una trompeta, provocando plagas, muerte y destrucción justo antes de la venida de Jesús.
Bosley Crowhter: Escrito en 1958 para el New York Times.
This initially mystifying drama, known in Swedish as Det Sjunde Inseglet, opened yesterday at the Paris, and slowly turns out to be a piercing and powerful contemplation of the passage of man upon this earth.
Tony Pellum: What immortalized this film is Bergman's analysis of morality, chaos, and religion suggested within the simple yet powerful cinematic elements he employs.
Jeremy Hailman: The theme moves from anger, to revenge, to lust, to freedom, to fear, to forgiveness, from second to second. You realize what it's trying to do, and succeeding at, is saying all of those things about people at once.
The movie’s ultimate message is not to look for definitive answers, since nothing is guaranteed to remain as might originally appear. Even inevitable death is a disappointing anticlimax here, since it doesn’t bestow the expected enlightenment with its coming.
Dave Becker: Mankind has struggled for an answer to this question for thousands of years. In the end, it is an unsolvable riddle for the living, and the magic of Bergman’s film is that it does not take sides, does not try to find the answer. It merely discovers a number of skillful ways to examine the question. You are left contemplating, along with the Knight, and you will ponder that question, and this film, for some time after.
Dr. Isakson: Fortunately the Knight has distracted Death from taking Jof, Mia and their child as well. This act of selflessness is all forfilling for the Knight. It is a true act of meaning which the Knight had been searching for all of his life. And with this deed he can truly become satisfied with the exsistance he had on earth.
Steph Wright: The iconic figure of a man playing chess with the Grim Reaper himself has lent itself to many a parody, but no imitation has been as poignant as the original.
Dan DeVore: The confessional scene is when Bergman reveals to us the inner thoughts and soul of Blok. It gives meaning to why he is not ready to face death, but longs it at the same time. Before he can die he wants truth and knowledge, but he wants to die nevertheless. The horrors of the plague and the crusades would be enough to drive any man to his state of mind. Basically Blok is the personification of the agnostic and most human beings whether they would like to admit it or not.
Arthur Lazere: Bergman explores here issues of life and death and faith. At the same time he sustains our interest with a good story, strong narrative flow, and an infallible sense of theatrical timing. He knows just when to interrupt a dialogue of despair with a scene of comic relief, when to inject into a pastoral idyll an ominous foreboding.
Notcoming: Convinced of “tomheten” (emptiness) Block wanders away to the circus family where he has a bowl of “smultron” (wild strawberries, offered to him by Bibbi Andersson as in Wild Strawberries, made the same year). The symbolism of the meal points to one other existential truism, that for the moment daily bread is enough.
Mr Cranky: For those of you early on in your cinematic education wondering why Isabella Rosellini's mother would wish to bore the whole of humanity instead of flashing her pretty face in front of the camera: that's Ingmar not Ingrid. The reflective Swede Ingmar is responsible for a whole series of films so deep in their symbolism that an entire generation of intellectuals has emerged from theaters around the world believing if they could just stop the boredom by beating themselves to death with a couple volumes of Sartresian philosophy, life might actually have some meaning.

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

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