Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Seventh Seal

Those who know me well know that I have a passion for cinema. It's a point of tension in my life, because I love it so much that I'm able to enjoy some of the more painstaking films that drive many people nuts, and I always accept the burden of embarrassment for enjoying such films. I can remember a time in high school when I felt so much shame because I invited my youth group friends over and we watched 'Waking Life'. I cringed during the entire thing because I knew I was enjoying it - but everyone else was going nutty because there were no explosions, chase scenes, or frivolous romances. Still goes down in memory as one of the more awkward and embarrassing moments of my youth. So I often have to resort to watching films I would enjoy in private. It's not a preferred way of watching, but I've made it work over the years.

I say this because my experience with the realm of cinema has had two similarly remarkable occasions in the last two and a half year, and one of them happened today. Years ago I came to know of a film called 'Wings of Desire'. I can't explain why, but I knew that one day I would have to see this film, and that when I did it would take the top spot on my list of all-time favourite films. So two and a half years ago I managed to get a copy of it. I wasn't feeling good when I started watching, and fell asleep part way through. Then I watched it again, and it was as if I had a knowledge of the future because the film had stolen the top place in my list of favourite films. I was moved, enthralled, and able to thoroughly enjoy.

Today, this same phenomenon occured. I finally was able to get a hold of a copy of 'The Seventh Seal' yesterday, so this afternoon I watched it. The concept was interesting to me - Death and a retired crusader play chess. That was all I knew of it. There was no other knowledge, and I wanted it to remain that way so that I could enjoy the act of discovery when given the chance. While I usually believe that films need repeated viewing before they can take a place on a list of favourites, upon viewing, this film has easily placed itself in a tie for the top spot on my list. It was beyond what I thought it would be, and I found the narrative speaking into depths I hadn't expected. This film could not have come at a greater time, for it has resonated on a level that will inevitably shape the writing I'm hoping to do this fall.

No comments: