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The Seventh Seal

Ingmar Bergman

For anyone with an interest in cinema, the work of Ingmar Bergman is as essential as breathing. The Swedish writer-director, who would have been 100 this year, is not just one of the undisputed giants of filmmaking, he is one of the truly great artists of the 20th Century in any medium. To mark Bergman’s centenary, we are proud to present six of his films over the coming months...

The opening scene of The Seventh Seal, in which a medieval knight encounters death and challenges him to a game of chess to delay his fate, is one of the most iconic in all of cinema. The 90 minutes that follow are every bit as memorable as the knight (played by the brilliant Max Von Sydow) searches for meaning on the final day of his life. Set in a plague-ravaged land, Bergman’s apocalyptic vision of the Middle Ages offers a potent allegory for the threat of nuclear war that loomed so heavily in the late 1950s. But the questions the film asks about religious doubt and the meaning of life are absolutely timeless.