Monday, July 30, 2007

Ingmar Bergman, RIP

I would seem that Swedish film maker and auteur Ingmar Bergman has finally lost the Great Chess Game at the venerable age of eighty-nine.

I think that this is a perfect opportunity to suggest that you go out and rent a copy of The Seventh Seal, which is largely regarded as his magnum opus.

The Seventh Seal is the story of a knight returning from the Crusades during a time of plague. Early in the film, he encounters Death (a scene often parodied, as with Budweiser's "Sad Clown of Death") who challenges him to a game of chess. What follows is something that is simultaneously meditative, poignant, wry, thought provoking and beautiful

If you're worried that it's going to be just another incomprehensible foreign film, I will assure you that it's perfectly accessible and very easy to enjoy and appreciate. To be sure, it is a deeply philosophical movie and, given that the topic is death and the meaning of life, it isn't what I would call light; never the less, unlike too many supposed classics, it's not the sort of film that tries to prove to the audience that the director is so much smarter than they are by way of baroque and pointless complexity. Indeed, the plot is remarkably straightforward.

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