In Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 film The Seventh Seal, set during the Black Death, a group of travelling players performs an absurd dance number to villagers – rudimentary commedia del’arte characters, they prance around, singing and smiling. One of them is made up as a horned very jolly devil. Suddenly, a bout of hymn singing breaks out in the background. A troupe of monks and fanatics plods in and interrupts the players’ little masque. Mass flagellation, kneeling villagers, wailing and gnashing of teeth – and a macabre Christ at the centre, his whole body rent and bloodied with gouging wounds.