THE SEVENTH SEAL
Last June 11, acclaimed cinematographer Gunnar Fischer passed away. He was 100 years-old. Fischer is best known to film enthusiasts as the man who preceded Sven Nykvist as Ingmar Bergman’s cinematographer. In fact his most notable works are the ones he did for Bergman: The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, etc.
The Seventh Seal is the most parodied among Bergman’s films. It is set in 13th century Sweden, during the Black Plague. After a crusade, Antonius Block (Max von Sydow), along with his squire (Gunnar Bjornstrand), makes his way back home. Along comes Death (Bengt Ekerot). Antonius, not yet ready to leave this world, makes a deal with Death; if Antonius wins the game of chess, Death will leave him alone.
The Seventh Seal wouldn’t be the same without Fischer’s haunting cinematography.
I could almost touch and feel those pebbles.
These shots make me want to live by the sea.
The dance of death.
One of Bergman’s trademarks: tight close-up.
I love how the moonlight caresses the actors’ face.
One can almost tell the film’s story just by looking at this shot. The light on Death’s right side symbolizes life, and Death has come to put out that light. On Death’s left is a statue of an anxious man who looks like he’s begging for his life to be spared. Obviously the statue represents us, human beings.