Long Live The Seventh Seal, by Ingmar Bergman

The Seventh Seal

I’ve watched The Seventh Seal three times. The first time was ten years ago (in 2005), and the third time was a couple of years ago. Nothing has changed, really. When I first saw it, I was going through a existential crisis (where I was asking questions quite similar to the ones I posed to the explanation in I Origins). At a certain time of day, thoughts and fears overcame me; it was involuntary, yet it haunted me until the untimely hour of sleep. During one of those nights, The Seventh Seal, as if Death itself were present in the film, came to me, to listen to my fears without needing me to express them, and to make me feel a bit better facing death.

That phase passed, thankfully, after the end of the summer. After that, I learned to hide my doubts in a dark room within some corner of my brain. If they ever reappear, the doubts, I try to firmly dismiss them; they don’t matter. Whatever it is, it’s unfixable, so why dwell on it? That way, everything is more practical, but The Seventh Seal goes beyond that. Its reflections and metaphors are timeless, immortal.

The Seventh Seal will always be present in our minds as long as the seventh art exists, as long as humanity exists, as a masterpiece beyond dispute, just as its questions are beyond dispute, except those we dare not answer (some of us).

Defying Death, the Explanation of The Seventh Seal and Ingmar Bergman

Ode to The Seventh Seal

I’m not afraid of death; I fear what comes after. I fear Eternity, Nothingness, my incapacity to understand, to assimilate, unanswered questions, senseless logic, that version of me that I will forget so as to never be me again. I feel like a child, a child facing an ungraspable, relentless, cruel reality (from my perspective, at least), incapable of finding a solution, yet unable to stop searching for it. Inexorable, ultimately. Like a child, that’s how I am when confronted with the certainty of death.

I’m not sure if I’m an especially cheerful person, even though I have playlists of optimistic songs, but I cherish life. Some say that without death, we wouldn’t value life. I feel that I do, that I appreciate life, living it. It’s a pity, loss is too, and especially so. One fears not only for oneself, but also for their loved ones. That was the case for me even as a child.

I used to pray, believing someone would hear me, in silence. I asked God, first and foremost, to exist, and then not to let anyone in my family die. Death evokes a strange feeling. The Seventh Seal captures so well what it means to realize we’re going to die that feeling nothing or only boredom after watching it is almost as inexplicable as our own condition.

People will want to forget about death; they’ll want to be entertained and not think. It’s not worth dwelling on, really. But in the end, like in a game of chess, both the pawn and the king end up together in the same box.

I watched, liked and rated The Seventh Seal ★★★★½ on Tuesday May 2, 2006

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