Not before or since the 1957 release of Ingmar Bergman's haunting masterpiece The Seventh Seal has the momentous theme of humankind's search for existential meaning – within or outside a religious framework – been treated of with such furious grace, intelligence and insight. All cynicism concerning the re-release of a '50th Anniversary Digitally Remastered Edition,' in the year of the great filmmaker's death, must therefore be put on hold. Any reason to publicise or disseminate or roll back the technical decay of this supreme piece of cinematic art, whether or not the companies in question make some extra baksheesh by finagling historical contingency, is a good reason.
Antonius Block (Max von Sydow) is a crusading knight freshly returned to the shores of his native Sweden. He has lost all the moral certainty he left with, presumably having seen and participated in atrocities in the name of Christianity. The hypocrisy of this institution which teaches forbearance, peace and tolerance yet practices murder, torture and empire-like expansionism is too much for his reflective nature to bear without apostasy. He yearns for a meaning to life beyond the circumscribed and vague one offered by the Church.