Friday, May 15, 2009

The Seventh Seal: Bergman's Light-Hearted Romp


(image: Death and a Knight play a friendly game of chess
in Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal)
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As we move toward graduation-Sunday on campus, there are numerous luncheons and dinners at which members of the Board of Trustees and the faculty mingle.

At last night's dinner, I sat next to a colleague from the History department, and we discovered we both liked Ingmar Bergman's classic film, The Seventh Seal. We also discovered that we had attempted to screen the film for students--with disastrous results. Most students simply think the film is too weird. Go figure!

Many parts of it have always made me laugh, although I do recognize that the genre is not exactly MGM musical. Death and the Knight playing chess intermittently and Death's sawing a tree in which someone is perched (somehow such a Swedish thing to do) both make me laugh. Ah, that droll Scandinavian humor.

In any event, my colleague reported that when she got the film going (on DVD) for the class, a student in the back said, "Wait a second--you mean this film is both in black-and-white AND subtitles?!"

Ah, well, some class-sessions just get off to an imperfect start.
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