Jogar a vida com a morte em A Noite e o Riso de Nuno Braganca, Alegria Breve de Vergilio Ferreira e O Sétimo Selo de Ingmar Bergman
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PLAYING FOR LIFE WITH THE DEATH IN NUNO BRAGANÇA’S A NOITE E O RISO, VERGÍLIO FERREIRA’S ALEGRIA BREVE AND INGMAR BERGMAN’S O SÉTIMO SELO
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With this essay I intend to explore the influence of Ingmar Bergman’s cinema on the Portuguese novel from the sixties and seventies. It will be of interest to confront The Seventh Seal (1956), by Ingmar Bergman, a film that premiered in Lisbon in 1963, with two Portuguese novels that appeared some years later: A Noite e o Riso (1969), by Nuno Braganca, and Alegria Breve (1965), by Vergilio Ferreira, since all these texts (cinematic and literary) deal with a metaphysics of death. Both Portuguese writers use on their novels the chess-playing motif (the medieval knight plays chess with Death in Bergman’s film) and both protagonists, when faced with death, play chess with some other secondary character (Jaime plays chess with Padre Marques, in Alegria Breve; the narrator from A Noite e o Riso, after being transformed into just another character creating this way the necessary distance to write and tell the trauma of Zana’s death, plays with a teenager – Freitas – in a chess tournament). What follows is a comparative approach and a close reading of all these texts dealing with the chess-playing motif, a representation on a microcosmic level of the existential questions at stake.
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