Introducing a film by one of my favourite directors, Ingmar Bergman: The Seventh Seal (Det sjunde inseglet)
Or a meditation on the infinite (faith) whilst being a finite being
Or finding redemption on the way home
The setting: a crusader awakes washed ashore, he meets Death, and makes a gambit: a challenge with Death to a game of chess to anticipate the receivership of his soul…he can no longer face existence in the absence of God, yet he cannot die without one last attempt to saviour his own soul (or more precisely the God within himself): one last struggle against nothingness to not only understand his being, but for the redemption of his being, for all that his life has been in the face of darkness, in the absence of God and its violation by violence around him –can he redeem it (his soul, mercy) one last time, that which had been lost?
Every year or so, I like to re-watch the Seventh Seal. It grips me just as when I first watched it so many years ago. The themes remain the same: of faith and struggle, when met with the indifference of humanity and the silence of God; and so the despair of existence –what I like to summarise as: the state of falling through nothing and wanting to land on something, the drive to redeem what good is left of one’s life in the face of one’s end.
This film may sound dreary and bleak –but this is not true. It ends with the gentleness of an offered meal of milk and strawberries…and where he had sought God, at the end it is the kindness and love by sharing a bowl of fresh milk and wild strawberries that he finds his answer.