Archive for March 15th, 2009


by Allan Fish

(Sweden 1956 95m) DVD1/2

Aka. Det Sjunde Inseglet

Dance of Death

p  Allan Ekelund  d/w  Ingmar Bergman  play  “Tramaining” by Ingmar Bergman  ph  Gunnar Fischer  ed  Lennart Wallen  m  Erik Nordgren  art/cos  Else Fischer

Max Von Sydow (Antonius Block), Bengt Ekerot (Death), Gunnar Björnstrand (Jons), Bibi Andersson (Mia), Nils Poppe (Jof), Gunnel Lindblom (Girl), Ake Fridell (Blacksmith Plog), Inga Gill (Lisa), Maud Hansson (Tyan), Inga Landgre (Block’s wife),

A skull is more interesting than a naked woman” Gunnar Björnstrand is told by a painter when examining his mural of the very same dance of death in a village church.  Though he’s entitled to his opinion, one can hardly see Hugh Hefner building up an empire out of showing pictures of bare craniums.  Thank goodness God disagreed and gave the naked Eve to Adam in Eden rather than a skull.  And God is very much to the fore here, for unlike Bergman’s later bleak studies of faith in the early sixties, this is a film that tries to answer, through its troubled protagonist, that age old question; does God exist?

            In the middle ages a knight returns home to his native land with his squire and the two are washed up on the beach.  Into this Homeric scene there suddenly enters a black cloaked ghostly individual (reminiscent of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come).  Recognising that he is in the presence of Death, the knight challenges him to a game of chess in the hope that he can answer the burning questions that trouble him in the time it takes Death to get him into checkmate. (more…)

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