BU Film School

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

FT 540 Reading: The Seventh Seal

Screenplay info
Written by: Ingmar Bergman (based on his play Trämålning)
Film info: http://us.imdb.com/Title?0050976

Synopsis
The Knight, Antonius Block, encounters Death, challenges him to chess. Knight and Squire pass performers on the road. Jof tells Mia about vision of Virgin Mary. (dreamer and his family who survives?)

In church, Jöns, the squire, talks to the painter about his art. Knight confesses (unwittingly to Death) that he wants knowledge, reassurance. Also gives away his chess stratagem. Knight, squire encounter condemned woman. Squire discovers a dead woman in house. Another woman (her sister?) comes, is threatened by Raval. Jöns threatens Raval, who leaves. Jöns makes overtures to girl, is rebuffed, offers to take her on as housekeeper. She follows.

Actors perform at inn. Skat notices Lisa, goes off with her. Monks, flagellants appear with cross. Smith Plog looks for Lisa. Confronts Jof in inn, is joined by Raval in tormenting the poor actor. Jöns enters (enabling Jof to escape), cuts Raval with knife. Knight meets Mia and Jof, invited to share wild strawberries (humble pleasure, yet sign that God exists). Knight invites them to follow him through the forest (safer from plague), and stay at his house. Plog follows, pleads to join company.

Company encounters condemned woman at her execution. Knight pleads with her for answer, tries to give her relief. Receives no relief/answer of his own (emptiness). Company sees Skat and Lisa together, Plog goes after Skat. Skat fakes death with theatrical dagger, climbs up tree for safety, only to have Death saw it down. Knight resumes his game with Death. Jof wakes, sees them playing, gets his family to leave.

Raval appears, dying of plague. No one touches him, and he dies.

Death checkmates knight, gives no reassurance.

Knight and others appear at knight's home, are greeted by wife. Strangers, almost. They read from the Apocalypse (7th Seal). Door opens, it's Plog.

Jof has vision of Death inviting people to dance. Mia - "You and your daydreams."

My notes
-- not a shooting script. Reads more like play. Directions mostly in literary prose.
-- allegorical. atmosphere of panic. dark mood, impending disaster. existential -- life meaningless, hopeless.
-- very little backstory provided -- situation matters more than characters
-- decisions -- whether or not to make connections with others?
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FT 540 notes (from 05/27/03)
-- example of Silver Age
-- faces. watch the eyes. Bergman's photos -- eyes up.

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