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The Seventh Seal

Much has been written about this movie and anyone who calls himself a classic film buff has certainly seen it. The Seventh Seal is one of my favorite movies of all time, for it presents in clear terms the different kinds of faith one can have in this floating world. Recently, I have been inspired to plan a pilgrimage to some of the world’s spiritual places in the coming years and inquire about my doubts. I plan on conducting semi-structured interviews and eventually publishing them here.

From Wikiquotes:

[Block goes to confess at a confessional alcove in a church]
Block: I want to confess as best I can, but my heart is void. The void is a mirror. I see my face and feel loathing and horror. My indifference to men has shut me out. I live now in a world of ghosts, a prisoner in my dreams.
Priest: Yet you do not want to die.
Block: Yes, I do.
[as Block looks away, we see now that the “priest” is actually Death]
Priest/Death: What are you waiting for?
Block: Knowledge.
Priest/Death: You want a guarantee.
Block: Call it what you will.
[Block kneels as if praying to the figure of Jesus]
Block: Is it so hard to conceive God with one’s senses? Why must He hide in a midst of vague promises and invisible miracles? How are we to believe the believers when we don’t believe ourselves? What will become of us who want to believe but cannot? And what of those who neither will nor can believe? Why can I not kill God within me? Why does He go on living in a painful, humiliating way? I want to tear Him out of my heart, but He remains a mocking reality which I cannot get rid of. Do you hear me?
Priest/Death: I hear you.
[Block turns to kneel before the priest behind the confessional screen]
Block: I want knowledge. Not belief. Not surmise. But knowledge. I want God to put out His hand, show His face, speak to me.
Priest/Death: But He is silent.
Block: I cry to Him in the dark, but there seems to be no one there.
Priest/Death: Perhaps there is no one there.
Block: Then life is a senseless terror. No man can live with Death and know that everything is nothing.
Priest/Death: Most people think neither of Death nor nothingness.
Block: Until they stand on the edge of life and see the Darkness.
Priest/Death: Ah, that day.
Block: [laughs bitterly] I see. We must make an idol of our fear, and call it God.
Priest/Death: You are uneasy.
Block: Death visited me this morning. We are playing chess. This respite enables me to perform a vital errand.
Priest/Death: What errand?
Block: My whole life has been a meaningless search. I say it without bitterness or self-reproach. I know it is the same for all. But I want to use my respite for one significant action.
Priest/Death: So you play chess with Death?
Block: He is a skillful tactician, [smiling] but I have not yet lost one piece.
Priest/Death: How can you outwit Death?
Block: [smiling] By a combination of bishop and knight. I will break his flank.
[the “priest” turns to face Block through the screen]
Priest/Death: I shall remember that.
[Block stands up, startled]
Block: Traitor! You have tricked me! But I’ll find a way out.

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