Seventh Seal, The

385. THE SEVENTH SEAL (1956-Sweden). With MAX VON SYDOW, GUNNAR BJORNSTRAND, BIBI ANDERSSON. Written and directed by INGMAR BERGMAN. One of the unquestionable masterpieces of the screen! Ingmar Bergman first achieved international fame with this stunningly filmed meditation on good and evil, faith and doubt, and the meaning of life and death. Serious matters to be sure, yet instead of being ponderous, the film is a deeply moving experience. It is also one of the few movies about which it can truly be said that every frame is a work of art. (Thanks to stop-action video recorders, we can now prove it!) During the 14th century, a knight returns from the Crusades to find Sweden ravaged by the Black Plague. Does God even exist! The knight plays chess with Death himself – a running battle through which he is able to save an innocent family (who see only beauty and love), thereby performing the meaningful, life-affirming act long denied him. Whether you see it as a profound philosophical statement, an expression of existentialist anxiety, a reflection of the 1950’s fears of instant annihilaÂtion and a Godless universe, a powerful evocation of medieval life, or a brilliant, endlessly fascinating piece of filmÂmaking, this work deserves its reputation as one of the greatest artistic achievements of all time. In Swedish with English subtitles. 96 minutes. Drama