Thursday, November 19, 2009

An Observation

I did pick up on something while watching last night, and I thought I'd mention it.  On the commentary track Peter Cowie opines that Bergman often portrays the most simple-minded characters as being the most spiritually innocent.  This of course is how we see Joff, Mia and Michael in T7S, and why they are the only ones to escape Death's clutches.  Sure, I'll play along with that.  However, two sticking points in this theory are Plogg the blacksmith, who is about as simple-minded as you can get, and Mia, who has a very deep, spiritually-enlighten conversation with Antonius Block.  According to Cowie's assertion Plogg should have survived and Mia should have died.  Why didn't Bergman have things fall out that way?  Did he shy away from killing Mia because he couldn't figure out a way to remove her and retain Joff and Michael?

I offer an alternate theory, though one that raises a few more questions.  Perhaps Bergman was killing sins instead of people; charicatures instead of characters.  Raval of course is as base and degenerate as they come, so his death makes "sense".  The witch, though not actually affiliated with Satan, has deluded herself into believing in her own corruption.  Plogg is a man controlled by rage and drunkedness, and his wife Lisa is of course a slattern.  That leaves MG, Block, Jons and Karin, and Block and Jons are both admitted Atheists (though Block desperately wants to have faith).  There is an even more intriguing explanation for MG and Karin, as in the final scene when Death is shown leading his charges in a dancing line off to the netherworld...MG and Karin are not present.

Now I did a little research, and it turns out that none of the original actors actually took part in that final scene; extras were used as the headline cast was off the set, but Cowie himself even comments that Karin and the MG aren't present, and has no explanation for their absense.

The one flaw in this overlay is Joff.  The simpleton who is almost annoying cheerfull throughout the film commits the crime of theft as he flees from Raval in the inn.  True, the bracelet that he takes was already stolen property, but if sins are punished by death in T7S he rightfully should have died as well.

I have a theory on that too, one that I'll go into later, but here's a clue:
"The Angel of Death flies overhead, and he is very large!"

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