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Seventh Seal, The (Blu-ray)

Director(s): Ingmar Bergman

Theatrical Release: 1957

Cast: Max von Sydow, Gunnar Bjornstrand, Bengt Ekerot, Bibi Andersson, Nils Poppe, Ake Fridell

Genre(s): Drama, Fantasy, classic, psychological, period piece, Criterion Collection

Countries: Sweden


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Running Time: 97m.

Endlessly imitated and parodied, Ingmar Bergman's landmark art movie The Seventh Seal (Det Sjunde Inseglet) retains its ability to hold an audience spellbound. Bergman regular Max von Sydow stars as a 14th century knight named Antonius Block, wearily heading home after ten years' worth of combat. Disillusioned by unending war, plague, and misery Block has concluded that God does not exist. As he trudges across the wilderness, Block is visited by Death (Bengt Ekerot), garbed in the traditional black robe. Unwilling to give up the ghost, Block challenges Death to a game of chess. If he wins, he lives -- if not, he'll allow Death to claim him. As they play, the knight and the Grim Reaper get into a spirited discussion over whether or not God exists. To recount all that happens next would diminish the impact of the film itself; we can observe that The Seventh Seal ends with one of the most indelible of all of Bergman's cinematic images: the near-silhouette "Dance of Death." Considered by some as the apotheosis of all Ingmar Bergman films (other likely candidates for that honor include Wild Strawberries and Persona), and certainly one of the most influential European art movies, The Seventh Seal won a multitude of awards, including the Special Jury Prize at the 1957 Cannes Film Festival. (allmovie.com)

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Criterion Collection Blu-ray Disc #11 Special Features:

! Introduction by Ingmar Bergman, recorded in 2003

! Audio commentary by Bergman expert Peter Cowie with new afterword

! Bergman Island (2006) - an 83-minute documentary on Bergman by journalist Marie Nyreröd, featuring in-depth and revealing interviews with the director

! Archival audio interview with Max Von Sydow

! A 1989 tribute to Bergman by filmmaker Woody Allen

! Bergman 101 - a selected video filmography tracing Bergman's career, narrated by Cowie

! Theatrical Trailer
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