Passive Sacrifice

I have dealt with the use of imagery from the cinema to illustrate political stories before in this blog and today we see another iconic image from a previously referenced film – The Seventh Seal.

The Independent’s Peter Schrank uses Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal to comment on the global threat that Ebola poses.

Sunday 19 October 2014. The Independent – Peter Schrank/Ingmar Bergman


In the film a disillusioned knight and his squire return after fighting in the Crusades and find Sweden being ravaged by the plague. On the beach immediately after their arrival the knight encounters Death and challenges him to a chess match, believing that he can forestall his demise as long as the game continues. Death agrees.

Whilst in the cartoon, Ebola is depicted as Death playing chess against someone, who could be representing Black Africa or Barack Obama (fighting in the Crusades?), who are clumsily knocking their chess pieces to the ground. In the background there is the depiction of Global Concern belatedly waking up as it reads the headline “Ebola cases in US and Spain” realising that it is not just poor Africa that is going to be affected.



Director: Ingmar Bergman,  Writer: Ingmar Bergman (Play), Ingmar Bergman (Screenplay), Stars: Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Bengt Ekerot. Sweden, Black and White, 1957

Chris Walker.


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