THE SEVENTH SEAL (1957)

Dir. Ingmar Bergman

When Death (Bengt Ekerot) and a medieval knight (Max von Sydow, who is in attendance at this screening) sat down for a game of chess in this Swedish classic, the image helped launch Ingmar Bergman's international career. The famed director adapted the story from his 1953 play Wood Painting while recovering from a stomach ailment. He re-created the world of medieval Sweden on the remarkably low budget of $150,000. Its tale of a knight trying to cheat death and save himself and his entourage from the black plague fascinated audiences around the world and brought the director to the attention of the influential French critics of Cahiers du Cinéma. With its focus on humanity's efforts to deal with the silence of God, the film anticipated many of Bergman's later works, as did the presence of frequent collaborators like von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand and Bibi Andersson. The images of the chess game and the climactic dance of death have become some of the most recognizable in film history, inspiring filmmakers from Roger Corman to Woody Allen.

In attendance: Max von Sydow

THE SEVENTH SEAL
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