#215 / 365 – ‘The Seventh Seal’ (1957) – 96 mins
IMDb Challenge #128 / 250 – Ranked #113 – Lovefilm
Crusader knight Antonius Blok (Max von Sydow) returns to 14th-century Sweden with his squire, Jöns, (Gunnar Björnstrand ) seeking a purpose to assuage his religious doubt and finds it in challenging Death to a game of chess so that travelling players Jof (Nils Poppe) and his wife, Mia (Bibi Andersson), can escape from the ravages of the Plague.
Don’t fear the Reaper. Ingmar Bergman’s most popular and most acclaimed film set during the Black Death is hardly the most delightful of scenarios, but is one that remains a powerful one with a unique sense of surrealism. It’s full of haunting images, with obviously the most notable being the chess game which remains iconic to this day, with Death in his black cloak and pasty face, is not one to express emotion and conversation between him and the knight over the game remain polite.
#216 / 365 – ‘Les Diaboliques’ (1955) – 114 mins
IMDb Challenge #129 / 250 – Ranked #183 – Lovefilm
The wife and mistress of a sadistic boarding school headmaster plot to kill him. They drown him in the bathtub and dump the body in the school’s filthy swimming pool. But when the pool is drained, the body has disappeared – and subsequent reported sightings of the headmaster slowly drive his ‘killers’ crazy.
Funny you wait ages to watch your first film by, Henri-Georges Clouzot and then two come along within a matter of days. Les Diaboliques is perfectly paced and constructed, but it’s not a straightforward thriller; with lots of cleverness and textbook Hitchcock moments in its twists and turns, and the fantastic hold your breath atmospheric suspense is the films undeniable strength, as the wife and lover plot about their diabolique plan.