The film causing this post is THE SEVENTH SEAL - DET SJUNDE INSEGLET from 1957. Quick synopsis from Movie Masterworks: A Knight and his squire are home from the crusades. Black Death is sweeping their country. As they approach home, Death appears to the knight and tells him it is his time. The knight challenges Death to a chess game for his life. The Knight and Death play as the cultural turmoil envelopes the people around them as they try, in different ways, to deal with the upheaval the plague has caused.
The film thus reveals a medieval plot with carefully built medieval iconography. I would say this world is constructed so carefully, that every single element supports the other. Great script, living in full images. The feeling of the overall catastrophe, constant presence of Death himself, develops macabre atmosphere. So gothic. Yet there is also joy and richness of the moment. Lovely youth and life, underlined with the beauty of actress Bibi Andersson. It is the world that mirrors heritage of AUGUST STRINDBERG and his dreamplays, Swedish playwritgh I also like a lot. Symbolistic heritage. Reality is constantly touching the world beyond: reality is becoming the world beyond itself.
There is also one theme following Bergman again has reminded me about. I will open it here just briefly. The simplicity of great artwork. The simplicity that is, I think, not so easy to achieve. It takes time and effort. Full simplicity it is. Simple that is perfect. No spectacle, just a few elements. Carefully chosen light. In general, I like such artworks. Simple, yet so full. I remember seeing an exhibition of Finnish designer Tapio Wirkkala. There was a photo, how Wirkkala studied a handle for a white cup. Simple handle. All of those variations seemed pretty much the same. Nonsense, one could say. But the final product captured the full simplicity. Less that is much more. And this is also the path I am trying to follow as a writer.
More images from The Seventh Seal as well as more on Ingmar Bergman and his works can be found here.