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The Seventh Seal

The Seventh Seal

The Seventh Seal

1957 / 96min / DCP

DIRECTOR: INGMAR BERGMAN

CAST: MAX VON SYDOW, BIBI ANDERSSON, GUNNAR BJöRNSTRAND, BENGT EKEROT

The Seventh Seal came to this country when I was a teenager and when my father and I were still occasionally going to the theater together. I had read about it and asked him to take me; he did. And claimed he didn’t understand the film. I thought its mysteries and recreation of the dance of death were marvelous. I remember the sound of the witch being burned at the stake, which was another moment of adolescent chills and horror. He thought it was all pretentious nonsense—and that was the end of our paired moviegoing or any further appreciation on his part of why I liked movies or why I would want to occasionally make them.

There is, by the way, a missing film in the Delany canon, which I made in the first months I was in San Francisco, called Tiresias, a super-8 extravaganza in both color and black-and-white, which involved a young man named Peter Rooney and was shot by his boyfriend, Robert Mooney, and was lost in the mail when my friend, Paul Caruso, sent it to me in New York and it never arrived, though it had indeed been “announced” in one of the blurbs to one of my science fiction novels.

Notes by Samuel R. Delany

Screening in the series Delanymania.