I’m no Bergman connoisseur nor real film buff for that matter, but Bergman’s The Seventh Seal has a scene that is pure poetry, verbal and visual. To set up the scene, a knight, Antonious Block, returning from the Crusades, challenges the devil to a game of chess believing this to be a clever ploy to stall for more time, life. Delaying the inevitable, the knight along the journey back to his castle meets a juggler, Jof, and his wife, Mia, and young child, Mikael. The wife shares the family’s meal, strawberries and milk, and Block remarks:
I shall remember this hour of peace: the strawberries, the bowl of milk, your faces in the dusk. Mikael asleep, Jof with his lute. I shall remember our words, and shall bear this memory between my hands as carefully as a bowl of fresh milk.
[He drinks from the bowl.]
Block’s comments really resonate with me and remind me of my constant quest to live in the moment or hour and make the most of the rich yet simple encounters that make up a life. I think that for all of the pleasures and opportunities that the digital world brings that it also antes up the challenge to live mindfully.
You can watch this scene on YouTube and if you’re as intrigued by Bergman’s work as I am then you’ll enjoy this retrospective on his work by Woody Allen. Allen was seriously influenced by Bergman’s work and work ethic and believes that Bergman’s films will stand the test of time and still be enjoyed and studied when the trendy films are long forgotten. It is both the soul and the technique of Bergman’s work that inspires Allen.
Process and Reflections
A minimalist poster seemed quite appropriate for Bergman’s metaphor-rich film.
I knew immediately that I would integrate a nod to chess and to the bowl of strawberries in my poster. The simple black and white squares I think conjures up a chess board and hints at the good/evil dichotomy of the story. I placed the bowl of strawberries on a diagonal to draw the eye immediately there. The one red strawberry adds a touch of the surreal and lets the viewer know that all is not as it seems. Finally, I used the Google Languages tool to translate the title into Swedish, Bergman’s native language.
I cut the bowl of strawberries from clipart and made some effort in GIMP to smooth the edges. I’d really like to learn to use a program like Illustrator that I’ve heard others mention to draw an abstract bowl of strawberries in black and white. Then I’d colorize the one strawberry for effect.
Or I’ve seen Giulia Forsyth create amazing drawings on her iPad. I’d wonder if that would be a good approach to create drawings. I love to draw.
It just occurred to me that my friend Norm always closes with “That’s my story. Any questions?” and I always seem to end with a question to help me tell my story better. An appropriate sign-off for me.