The Virgin Spring had the special quality of being relevant in today's society despite being filmed about 50 years ago. In the 60s, it would have challenged the mainstream's ideas about sex and violence in film as well as religious ideals. Today, it still encourages conversation about who God is, what his role is in human life, and if there even is a God. I also felt that it posed a question about the validity of capital punishment as a method of justice.
I was especially impressed with Bergman's ability to make the rape feel as violating and uncomfortable for the viewer as it did despite it not being outrageously graphic by today's standards. The actions of the characters included subtleties that added numerous layers to the their motives and the story as a whole. This is why it was so interesting to hear from Professor Cohen about different aspects of the movie. He pointed out the meaning of details that I hadn't even considered. I currently plan on watching The Seventh Seal over fall break -- he basically made me a Bergman fan over the course of his talk.