I met Death today. We are playing chess.

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Ingmar Bergman died the other day and so I went on a quest to find any of my previously written reviews of his movies. However, I couldn't find any, although I'm pretty sure I wrote a couple somewhere. It seems to be fashionable to be like Scalzi and say that, while you don't enjoy his films, you understand his genius, which is similar to what many folks say about the "Great" novels of the 18th and 19th century.

But much like those novels, I have truly enjoyed every Bergman film I've seen. Admittedly, I've only touched on the pinnacle of his achievements, but I rank The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries as two of my all time favorite movies. In fact, I would consider The Seventh Seal as part of my nascent Desert Island movie list, because there are just so many things going on that repeated viewings are a must. There are so many iconic images in that film, beginning with, of course, the chess game with death:


Symbolism is rampant in both films, but it never felt forced to me. Wild Strawberries even opens with an extended dream sequence, which normally annoys me to no end, but in this case works very well.

Next up for me would be Fanny and Alexander, which I have in DVD (the movie version). And I see that Criterion (who did the excellent DVDs I saw of Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries) has a bunch of Bergman films (natch), including what looks like a very interesting trilogy of The Silence, Through a Glass Darkly and Winter Light, which would make a great purchase.



7 Comments

[this is good] I had to watch The Seventh Seal back in high school.  I greatly enjoyed it.  Haven't seen Wild Strawberries but am looking forward to getting my hands on a copy to screen sometime soon.

My boyfriend loves Wild Strawberries. I haven't watched it yet, though. As usual your review has prompted me to do something about that.

I found Wild Strawberries to be very touching and funny. It's a Swedish "road movie", with a very old professor and young lady going on a trip. Great on many different levels.Ross, I can't believe your high school talked about 7th Seal. Jeez, mine was lucky to talk about Kentucky Fried Movie:-) Not sure I would have appreciated it in high school anyway, but it really resonates today.

I was lucky to have some really insightful and caring teachers in my high schools.  We read Zinn's A People's History of the United States and Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, instead of more "standardized" or "traditional" books and texts.  Heck, my calculus teacher also taught us computer programming in PASCAL near the end of the year when we had finished they syllabus early.Just makes me realize all the stuff out there I haven't yet learned or got my hands on, though.  That's the thing about an education - one of the things you learn first is how much you have yet to learn.

Wow, I wish I went to Ross's HS.  Once again, thanks for reminding me of a movie I need to watch.  7th Seal has been on my list for waaaaaay too long.  I started Netflix up again recently so my wife and I could catch up on Entourage instead of buying the DVDs ($$$) or waiting for them to arrive at Blockbuster.  Loving Netflix.  Our first try with it wasn't the best.  I'm guessing it was the post office's fault, but whatever it was, it's been corrected.  Anyway, 7th Seal is in the queue.

I did Netflix when it first started, but stopped after about a year because the turnaround was too slow. But when they opened a nearby warehouse, I tried it again and found the turnaround to be much better - like 2-3 days from in the mail box to in my hands. Now I can't bear to hit the local Blockbuster.

Click on this link to be my Netflix Friend : Netflix Friend Page

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on August 1, 2007 5:25 AM.

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