The Seventh Seal – Half-Assed Movie Review (2018 FIFA World Cup™ Special Series)

Group F

russiawc2018

Info

Country: Sweden
Original Title: Det sjunde inseglet
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Release: 1957
Genre: Drama, Fantasy

7thSeal.13.png

World Cup Historic

Sweden history in football began in 1896 with a football league, and in 1904 the Swedish Football Association was founded. The first match, however, only took place in a Scandinavian match against Norway in 1908, an 11-3 win for the Swedish.

This traditional team was part of the World Cup since its early times. The first was in 1934, then 1938 and 1950, the last finishing third place.

In 1958 Sweden qualified as the hosts and got their best result until this day, being the runners-up in the Finals against Brazil. The match finished 5-2 to the visiting side, including two goals from the 17-years-old Pelé.

Swedish_National_football_team_starting_11_1958_WC_final
Sweden squad from the 1958 World Cup Final

After that, the Swedish team never achieved much, with the exception of the third place in 1994.

Sweden was out of the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. Last time, they had to face Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in a two-legged clash. The aggregate score was 4-2, with four Ronaldo goals for Portugal and two Ibra goals for Sweden.

After that match, Zlatan Ibrahimović said one of his most famous phrases: “One thing is for sure, a World Cup without me is nothing to watch.”

Zlatan_Ibrahimović_Euro_2012_vs_France_07
Photo from Football.ua / Илья Хохлов

That was the last chance for Zlatan since he retired from the national team after the Euro 2016. Now Sweden has its strength in the unity of a team, rather than the absurd skill of a single player.

To qualify for the 2018 tournament, Sweden had to face another football superpower, the four-time champions, Italy. This time, with a 1-0 in aggregate, Sweden get the qualification.

The coach is the 55-year-old Janne Andersson, who assumed the position after the Euro 2016. In almost 40 years of career as player and manager, Andersson only worked in Sweden and at club level, it is his first time at International level.

It’s possible that the Swedish reach at least Round of 16 this year, but I think the favorites are Germany and Mexico.

Prelude

Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
The Seventh Seal (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

A thoughtful knight plays chess with Death after arriving from a crusade and finding his homeland devastated by The Plague.

I was intending to do a review like the others here, but while I was re-watching the movie, I realized it deserved more, a deeper view of the movie.

Unfortunately, I have to rush things a little so I can publish the movies from the other countries in this World Cup Special. For that reason, I will review The Seventh Seal now but won’t go deeper so I can do something greater in the future.

7thSeal.12
Antonius Block (Max von Sydow) and Death (Bengt Ekerot)

When talking about the Crusades here, we will be talking about the war campaigns backed by the European Christians to conquer the Jerusalem. The Crusades happened from the 11th century to the 16th century.

The Black Death, or as I referred to before, The Plague, was an epidemic of bubonic plague mainly across Europe and the Middle East. It’s estimated that the plague decimated from 30 to 60% of the population, claiming 75-200 million people.

The reason it was later known as “Black Death” was one of its symptoms, the necrosis of the extremities, like the fingers and nose. The necrosis is the premature death of the cells, causing the black color of the area with necrosis.

L0004057 The plague of Florence in 1348, as described in Boccaccio's
The plague of Florence in 1348, as described in Boccaccio’s | Wellcome Collection

Another important topic to be raised here is the burning of witches. The most notorious instance where this practice took place was during the Inquisition, beginning in the 12th Century and going as far as the 20th Century.

The practice of burning people alive is much older for various reasons, diverging from culture to culture, but the Christian practice of murdering people at the stake began in the 7th Century, a penalty for “heresy”.

Witch-scene4
Jan Luyken’s Feuerhinrichtung von Anneken Hendriks in Amsterdam 1571

It might be a cliché to say something like that, but “The Seventh Seal” is a masterpiece. Ingmar Bergman is deservedly one of the greatest names in the history of cinema.

Sometimes, I think I’m too strict because I don’t give away 10 Moons right and left, but when I watch something like that, it reminds me why. There is something about these movies that separate them from the rest.

7thSeal.07.png
Antonius Block (Max von Sydow)

Det sjunde inseglet

The knight Antonius Block (Max von Sydow) and his squire Jöns (Gunnar Björnstrand) had recently returned to their homeland, back from a 10-year Crusade, when Death itself (Bengt Ekerot) approaches Antonius Block, aiming to take him.

As a way to avoid his fate, the knight invites the personified Death to a match of Chess, the idea is, if Antonius wins, death would release him.

The two men continue their journey, from the shores to the knight’s castle and very early, there are signs that things are not going well around there.

7thSeal.03
Mia (Bibi Andersson) and Jof (Nils Poppe)

They take with them a girl (Gunnel Lindblom) who was almost raped. Later Jof (Nils Poppe) and Mia (Bibi Andersson), a couple of itinerant actors, start to travel with the group as well.

The group found a lot of chaos in their way, because of the plague and the measures taken because of the plague. To some people, the morals changed and for the religious people and the church itself, the plague was God’s wrath.

There are processions with flagellants whipping themselves, carrying crosses and wearing a crown of thorns while singing Dies Irae. The church itself always found some scapegoat to perform their atrocities, accuse them of witchcraft and burn them.

7thSeal.05
Death (Bengt Ekerot) and Antonius Block (Max von Sydow)

In the midst of this chaotic place, Antonius Block thinks about life and death, and especially about the existence of God. Some of these thoughts are shared with Death, during their game of Chess.

I think one of the most interesting aspects of the movie is these inquiries and doubts from the protagonist, the existential reflection, something easy to echoes with the viewer. Even someone like me, already satisfied with my answers for many of these questions, can be sympathetic for those in this position.

I could say I am more like the Jöns character, a cynic, believing in the emptiness, but before that, I had to go through an Antonius phase until I got satisfied with my answers.

7thSeal.08
Jöns (Gunnar Björnstrand)

It’s an amazing movie to talk about with friends, because of the thoughts it evokes, it’s beautiful with masters of the art in front and behind the cameras, one of the best movies I had the privilege to watch and as I said before, a clear 10 Moons.

7thSeal.06
The girl (Gunnel Lindblom)

 

Advertisements

Author: Marlon Santos

Random guy who loves movies and series, among other things.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.