Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Some interesting points

A few points that have come up during viewing #74:

1) There are two visitations in the first two introductions of characters.  First, Death visits Antonius Block on the beach.  The second visitation, occurring just after Block and Jons pass by the caravan, is the Virgin Mary and the Christ child appearing to Joff.  Now I find this interesting because of the similarities and the differences in the visits, but more importantly in how the visits effect the viewers.

In both cases the visitations are of a supernatural origin, appearing out of thin air and surprising the viewer.  In both cases the revelation is made to a single male, and in both that male is in charge of others.  Interestingly enough both Block and Joff instantly accept the validity of what they've seen.  Neither doubt that they've been visited by a higher power.  The differences have much more import, and makes me wonder how much Bergman intended to craft his characters through the visits.  The visit of the Virgin Mary has puzzled me throughout my many viewings especially.    While Death appears several times and plays in integral part of the story, the Virgin Mary only appears once, and is not even mentioned again.  Also, while the Virgin Mary is silent Death speaks to Block, and perhaps that is why Block decides not to share his experience with his companion.  Joff of course immediately tells Mia what he's seen.  Now, are Block and Joff the chosen parties for their revelations because they have certain powers?  Remember that Joff is able to see Death when he visits Block for their final showdown at the chessboard.  If he had waited a few more minutes, would Block have been able to see the Virgin and precluded his internal doubt?  Would he have curried favor with God by sharing his experience with his squire?  Obviously the key differences between Joff and Block are their levels of faith and the fact that Joff and his family survive Death's visitation.  Is Joff's visitation a sign that his family is protected, or just that he has extra-sensory detection?  Death hints later on that he desires to kill the actor and his family.  Is he especially eager because he's been barred from them by God until they joined with Block's group?  There really are a lot of questions raised here.  I'll have to think abut them a bit more as I work my way to the finish.

2)  I think I've come up with a new "plague pattern".  At the start of the film Block is visited by Death, dooming him.  He then kicks Jons to wake him up, passing the plague to him.  Jons then touches both Raval and the Mute Girl, dooming them as well.  Raval touches Plogg, who then is patted on the back by Skat, and clutched at by Lisa.  This explains everyone and also explains why Joff, Mia, and Michael are spared as they never make direct physical contact with any of the affected party after they've been infected.  Of course the timeline doesn't quite work if the disease is linear, but that can be explained by variables in immune systems and personal hygiene. 

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