第七封印 第七封印 8.3分

罗杰伊伯特评《第七封印》

黑白
2018-04-11 看过
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从十字军东征回来的骑士发现了一座简陋的教堂,其时正逢黑死病肆虐大地,他走进去告解。隔着铁栅栏,他对一位半边脸藏在罩衫下的人倾吐心声:“我的冷漠使我无法自处。我生活在一个充满鬼魂的世界里,成了幻想的囚徒。我想要上帝伸出祂的手,现出祂的脸,跟我说话。我于黑暗中向他哭诉,却没有得到任何回应。”那个身影转过身,露出一张死神的脸,一路上他早已盯上骑士。

无论是浅显的心理学阐述,还是逼真的行为表达,这些影像风格都已经消失在现代电影中。从许多方面来说,相比于模仿伯格曼风格的现代电影(包括他自己的其他作品),《第七封印》(1957)与默片有着更多的共同点。或许这就是它在当下显得过时的原因。因为它过于荒凉的意象以及不妥协的主题,其严肃程度不亚于直接告诉观众上帝的缺席,所以会使现在的一些观众感到尴尬,尽管它长期以来被公认为电影史的杰作之一。

电影不再是关于上帝的沉默,而是变成了男人们的喋喋不休。我们对本片感到不安,因为伯格曼试图在一个如此讽刺的语境下提出关于存在的问题。在其后的《假面》(1967)中,我们会发现更多类似的问题,只不过提出的方式更为巧妙。《第七封印》的力量在于它的坦率:绝不妥协,推崇纯粹的善恶。

除喜剧作品之外,伯格曼所有风格成熟的电影都在表达他的不满,不满上帝展现自己的方式。不过当他拍摄《第七封印》时,为了获得完美的主题表达,他很大胆地使用了一种直白的方式,即如实地展现骑士与死神下棋对弈的场面。那是一幅如此完美的场景,引得无数后人模仿。并且他很有信心去结束这样一部电影,不是通过一段简单的总结或一次简单的高潮,而是以一种非凡的影像——“严酷的死神命令他们跳舞。”年轻的演员说道,把他妻子的目光吸引到远处的地平线上,死神正牵领他最新的一列受害者,手舞足蹈地行进着,令人毛骨悚然。

多年以后我重看《第七封印》,我又注意到关于中世纪早期的诸多细节,其时欧洲大地正遭瘟疫肆虐,十字军陆续回归。骑士(马克斯·冯·叙多夫)一路将自己的故事与其他人分享,尤其是他的扈从(古纳尔·布约恩施特兰德),一个务实的男人,却厌恶女人且时常嘲笑主人。(他常常会通过无声的咆哮来表达不满。)在两人回家的途中,骑士被死神盯上了(“我已经在你身边很久了。”)。他与死神定下一个棋局赌约:输赢关系到骑士的命运。这盘棋贯穿了整部电影。

继续前行,骑士和扈从遇上一个表演剧团,剧团里一对夫妻带着一个孩子,夫妻名为Joseph和Mary。

他们来到一处看似废弃的农舍,扈从在里面抓到一个叫Raval的男人,他正试图去偷瘟疫感染者的手镯。此人是一名神学家,几年前他鼓动骑士加入了十字军。

瘟疫的蔓延催生了极端的行为。一群人走过,他们有的执鞭抽打自己,有的背负沉重的十字架,做些自我惩罚的事妄图获得上帝的宽恕。骑士和扈从看到一个被关在笼子里的女孩(Maud Hansson),她即将被烧死在木桩上。看押人员解释说她为魔鬼工作,招来了瘟疫。骑士询问女孩关于魔鬼的问题,因为只有魔鬼知道上帝是否存在。“看着我的眼睛。”女孩说道,“牧师可以看到他,这些士兵也可以——他们的火伤害不了我。”她感到极度荣耀。“我只看到了恐惧。”骑士说。后来,在她快要被火烧时,扈从喊道:“看看她的眼睛,除了虚无她看不到任何东西。”“不,不会的。”骑士痛苦的说道。我们被抛弃了,一直到结尾,也只有死神作为一个超自然人物存在,没有更多的迹象表明上帝的存在。

现在的电影依靠一些制片人完成,而英格玛伯格曼完全依靠自己。1918年出生在瑞典乌普萨拉,一位路德派牧师的儿子,从小生活在严酷的家庭,遭受诸如被锁在橱柜里,“跟吃掉你脚趾的东西呆在一起”的惩罚(他的电影里回忆道)。他在战后的第一部电影(在今天已经很难看到),是意大利新现实主义和好莱坞社会剧的混合产物,风格还很不稳定,甚至连片名都显得平庸(诸如《带雨伞的男人》,《黑暗中的音乐》)。他在扭捏的小姿态和日常行为里感到不自在,只有当他回到更严肃的题材上,他才开始发现自己的天赋,譬如他的《喜悦》(1949)和《小丑之夜》(1953)。在1957年发行的《第七封印》和《野草莓》,标志着他艺术家生涯的开始。两部片子都是关于意义的追问,处在生命尽头的主人公踏上寻找之旅。

在伯格曼电影生涯的中期,他对于宗教信仰的追问是他那个时期所有电影的核心。《第七封印》就诞生于那个时期,他在影片里一次又一次地追问,为什么上帝总是缺席。在《犹在镜中》(1962),罹患精神病的女主角视上帝为一只蜘蛛。在严肃的《冬日之光》(1962)里,布约恩施特兰德和冯·叙多夫再次出现,故事里一位乡村牧师的信仰受到了核恐惧的冲击。在《假面》(1966)里,女演员因电视播放的战争画面而拒绝讲话。在杰作《呼喊与细语》(1973)里,一位身患绝症的女人最终找到了信仰,却不被姐妹们理解和包容。

在伯格曼电影生涯的最后三部主要影片里,他开始内视那些曾经苦苦追寻的答案。他的电影都是自传式的,包括最后那部《芬妮与亚历山大》(1984),以及两部担任编剧的电影——《善意的背叛》(1992)和出色的《生於星期天》(1994)。《生於星期天》的故事建立在一段夏日乡村的回忆之上,讲述一个年轻人和他垂死的牧师父亲的故事,影片由伯格曼的儿子丹尼尔·伯格曼执导——或许伯格曼是想让丹尼尔来处理他曾经面对过的那些问题。

伯格曼的电影生涯像是一道弧线。一开始,这个愤怒的年轻人思考社会和政治问题。人到中年,他追问关于上帝和存在的宏大命题。而在垂暮之年,他转而回忆起过去,所谓的问题似乎都有了答案。其中的很多电影,都有着相似的和解场景,那种同冷酷现实之间的和解。在《第七封印》中,骑士面临着生命的终结和瘟疫的肆虐,却肯花时间跟Joseph和Mary一家在一起,他说:“我会记住这一刻,这祥和的黄昏,还有野草莓和牛奶,你在暮色中的脸庞,孩子在安睡,Joseph弹着鲁特琴,我会竭力记住我们说的每句话,我会小心的珍藏这段记忆。”拯救这个家庭免于死亡是他最后的愿望。在《呼喊与细语》中,死去的姐姐留下一本日记,它将我们带回那个愉快的日子,那天她感觉好一点了,便和姐妹女仆一道出去散步,她坐在草坪的秋千上,明媚的阳光直落下来。她这样写道:“我对生活充满了感激,它给了我太多。”

《婚姻生活》(1973)讲述一对夫妻的婚姻破裂,但是两人之间的爱和希望并没有完全消失。在多年的分居之后,他们回到了那个曾带给他们快乐的乡村小屋。女人从一场噩梦中惊醒,男人上前抱住并安慰她,一个黑沉沉的夜晚,一所黑暗的房子里,周围环绕着伤害和恐惧,人与人之间的安慰无疑是对抗绝望最有力的武器。

原文:

A knight returning from the Crusades finds a rude church still open in the midst of the Black Death, and goes to confession there. Speaking to a hooded figure half-seen through an iron grill, he pours out his heart: "My indifference has shut me out. I live in a world of ghosts, a prisoner of dreams. I want God to put out his hand, show his face, speak to me. I cry out to him in the dark but there is no one there.” The hooded figure turns, and is revealed as Death, who has been following the knight on his homeward journey.

Images like that have no place in the modern cinema, which is committed to facile psychology and realistic behavior. In many ways, Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal" (1957) has more in common with the silent film than with the modern films that followed it--including his own. Perhaps that is why it is out of fashion at the moment. Long considered one of the masterpieces of cinema, it is now a little embarrassing to some viewers, with its stark imagery and its uncompromising subject, which is no less than the absence of God.

Films are no longer concerned with the silence of God but with the chattering of men. We are uneasy to find Bergman asking existential questions in an age of irony, and Bergman himself, starting with "Persona" (1967), found more subtle ways to ask the same questions. But the directness of "The Seventh Seal” is its strength: This is an uncompromising film, regarding good and evil with the same simplicity and faith as its hero.

All of Bergman's mature films, except the comedies, are about his discontent with the ways that God has chosen to reveal himself. But when he made "The Seventh Seal” he was bold enough to approach his subject in a literal manner; to actually show the knight playing chess with Death, an image so perfect it has survived countless parodies. And he had the confidence to end his film, not with a statement or a climax, but with an image. "The strict lord Death bids them dance,” says the young actor, directing the attention of his wife to the horizon, against which Death leads his latest victims in a macabre parade.

Seeing "The Seventh Seal” again after many years, I was reminded of the richness of detail about Europe in the early Middle Ages, when plague swept the land and the Crusaders returned. The knight (Max von Sydow) shares the story with many other characters, not least his squire (Gunnar Bjornstrand), a realistic, down-to-earth man who has a lively dislike of women, and a sardonic relationship with his master. (He has a silent little snarl to show his discontent.) As the two of them travel home to the knight's castle, the knight is challenged by Death ("I have been at your side for a long time”). He offers Death a bargain: They will play chess for the knight's soul. The game continues during the entire film.

Continuing on their way, the knight and squire encounter a troupe of performers, including a couple named Joseph and Mary who have a young child.

They visit a seemingly deserted farmstead, where the squire catches a man named Raval trying to steal the bracelet of a plague victim. This Raval is the very theologian who, years earlier, convinced the knight to join the Crusades.

The plague has inspired extreme behavior. A group of flagellants files past, some carrying heavy crosses, others whipping themselves, doing penance. The knight and squire encounter a girl (Maud Hansson), held in a cage, who is going to be burned at the stake; her captors explain that she slept with the devil, drawing down the plague. The knight questions the girl about the devil, who should know if God exists. "Look in my eyes,” the woman says. "The priest could see him there, and the soldiers--they would not touch me.” She is almost proud. "I see nothing but terror,” the knight says. Later, as the woman is being prepared for burning, the squire says, "Look into her eyes. She sees nothing but emptiness.” "It can't be,” says the knight. We are left, almost until the end, with the possibility that although Death exists as a supernatural figure, there is no larger structure in which God plays a part.

Some filmmakers are born. Ingmar Bergman was made. Self-made. Born in Uppsala in 1918, he was the son of a Lutheran minister whose strict upbringing included the punishment (recalled in the films) of the small boy being locked in a cupboard “with things that will eat your toes.” His first postwar films, not much seen today, are uneasy mixtures of Italian neorealism and Hollywood social drama, and even the titles ("It Rains on Our Love," "Night is My Future”) suggest their banality. He was not at ease in the world of small realistic gestures and everyday behavior, and only when he drew back into more serious issues did he begin to find his genius, in films like "To Joy” (1949) and "Sawdust and Tinsel” (1953). "The Seventh Seal” and “Wild Strawberries,” both released in 1957, mark his coming of age as an artist. Both are about men near the ends of their lives, on a journey in search of meaning.

Bergman's spiritual quest is at the center of the films he made in the middle of his career. "The Seventh Seal” opens that period, in which he asked, again and again, why God seemed absent from the world. In "Through a Glass Darkly” (1962), the mentally ill heroine has a vision of God as a spider. In the austere "Winter Light” (1962), Bjornstrand and von Sydow appear again, in the story of a country priest whose faith is threatened by the imminence of nuclear catastrophe. In "Persona” (1966), televised images of war cause an actress to simply stop speaking. In the masterpiece "Cries and Whispers" (1973), a woman dying of cancer finds a faith that her sisters cannot understand or share.

The last three major films in Bergman's career look inside for the answers to his haunting questions. They are all autobiographical, including "Fanny and Alexander" (1984), the last film he directed, and two more he wrote the screenplays for, "The Best Intentions” (1992) and the remarkable “Sunday's Children” (1994). That last film, based on a memory of a summer vacation in the country with a young man and his father, a dying minister, was directed by Bergman's own son, Daniel--perhaps as a way of allowing Daniel to deal with the same kinds of questions Ingmar has had.

Bergman's work has an arc. The dissatisfied young man considers social and political issues. In middle age, he asks enormous questions about God and existence. In old age, he turns to his memories for what answers there are. And in many of these films, there is the same kind of scene of reconciliation. In “The Seventh Seal,” facing the end of his own life and the general destruction of the plague, the knight spends some time with Joseph and Mary and their child, and says, "I will remember this hour of peace. The dusk, the bowl of wild strawberries, the bowl of milk, Joseph with his lute.” Saving this family from Death becomes his last gesture of affirmation. In "Cries and Whispers,” a journal left by the dead sister recalls a day when she was feeling a little better, and the sisters and a maid walked in the sunlight and sat in a swing on the lawn: "I feel a great gratitude to my life,” she wrote, "which gives me so much.”

And "Scenes from a Marriage” (1973) tells the story of a couple whose marriage disintegrates, but whose love and hope do not quite disappear; after many years apart, they visit a country house where they were once happy. The woman awakens with a nightmare, the man holds and comforts her, and in the middle of the night in a dark house, surrounded by hurt and fear, this comforting between two people is held up as man's best weapon against despair.

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