The old films of Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007) are well available these days. “The Seventh Seal” is about a knight who came back from the crucade, but is in grave doubt about the existence of God. In the time of the Black Death and followed by Death himself, he decides that he has to do one good deed before it is his time. “Det Sjunde Inseglet” of course looks like a very old film, but one of the better kind. It is quite enjoyable. It also proves to be a popular film for samples!
I accidentally ran into this production of the recently deceased Bergman. I didn’t know if this would be a film-version of the “Die Zauberflöte” opera of Mozart or just like the Windgassen version that I reviewed before, a registration of the performance of the opera. Well, it is a bit of both. It seems that the opera was performed and that Bergman filmed it with and without audience. The latter is obvious, because he used lengthy facial close-ups in his montage, the first almost has to be, because there must have been cameras all over the stage. What you see is the opera, but with close-ups, different stages, etc. and it looks less than just a filmed opera of the Windgassen version. I don’t know if Bergman actually directed the opera AND the film, but the box suggests as much. The opera is translated to Swedish, but since it is available on DVD, you can just turn on subtitles. I would have preferred the original, German language, but the language is hardly an issue. The acting and stages are good, but Bergman has made some changes to the story. Small changes such as the way Papageno meets Papagena, but bigger changes such as the replacement of Isis and Osiris (whose mysteries are taught in the temple of Zarastro) by the supreme high God. Also it seems that Bergman has missed the Masonry in the story, leaving aside an enormous source for possible symbolism. In total this is another nice version of “Die Zauberflöte” and the first one that I get on DVD. I still prefer the first (of three) that I saw so far, so I hope to run into that Windgassen version some day too.