(Review originally written at 25 April 2007)

Very rarely such a both great looking and thought provoking movie comes around that makes such a powerful and lasting impression. "Des Sjunde inseglet" has some great and thought provoking themes in it and is also beautifully made at the same time, by Ingmar Bergman and his entire cast and crew.

The movie questions and debates several issues concerning the meaning of life, religion and death. Of course this movie provides no answers to any of that because of the simple reason that nobody knows the answers to these questions and everybody interpret life and belief on their own way. This movie can also be seen as a free interpretation of those subjects and it triggers the mind of its viewers, which is also the reason why this movie can be interpreted in many different ways by many different people. It makes "Des Sjunde inseglet" a rare really thought provoking movie.

But the movie is not only just about this depressing and heavy subjects, it's also about hope, if you at least look deep enough into it. Also the movie is way more accessible to everyone then it might sound. The themes and entire subject of the movie might sound a bit off and difficult and certainly will scare of a large group of the average movie-watcher but the movie is perfectly watchable for basically just everyone. I think that the great surrealism of the movie is a reason why it works out so way and is perfect to watch for basically just everyone, regardless of age, race or religion.

The movie has a great look in which less is more. The movie chooses a simplistic and more warm approach, to keep the story real and as involving and thought provoking as possible. It gives the movie an unique look and atmosphere and also provides the movie with some beautiful images. The cinematography is really first rate and so are the costumes and sets for the movie, that all adds to its atmosphere of the time period the movie is set in.

The movie is filled with a couple of beautiful looking sequences that also make a lasting heavy dramatic impression. It's a powerful movie to watch that both provokes and is easy on the eyes.

All of the actors also did a great job and the movie features some of the best Swedish actors of that generation. Of course most are unknown today by the general public but the movie also features some 'big' names that are known around the world, of which Max von Sydow is of course the best example. I enjoyed watching him in this early movie role, especially since we mostly only know him as an 'old' man, every since his "The Exorcist" role. It was refreshing to see him as a very young man and as a beginning actor. Bengt Ekerot is also perfectly cast as the scary looking 'death' itself. His appearance is the best known element out of the movie and is even known to persons who've never watched this movie. This really says something about the impact his appearance makes in this movie.

It's just a movie in which everything adds up; the cinematography, the music, the atmosphere, the directing, the acting, its themes. Everything is first class work and every little element of the movie enriches the movie and adds up to its total brilliance. The fact that such an 'old' European movie is so well known- and is still being watched all over the world should say enough about its quality and universal themes that are of all time that are handled in it.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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