Published  02/08/2007

It\'s a Great Game of Chess

So the great Swedish film director and theatre producer Ingmar Bergman has at last died, aged 89, on his island off the coast of Sweden. Earlier this summer he was still talking in interview of a last film, on the island. His films were remarkable for their unique blend of photographic craftsmanship, with facial close-ups revealing personal characteristics of the key actors and actresses. Few can forget in 'The Seventh Seal' (l956) the apocryphal image of a final chess game, in which the Knight, (played by Max von Sydow) matches Death (an enigmatic but not threatening figure in a black hooded cloak) move by move on a medieval shoreline. Now Knight has lost his final move. There has been no successor of equivalent brilliance to Bergman, although the Russian film maker Andrey Tarkovsky is a close runner up. Both film makers worked most effectively in monochrome rather than in colour. Studio International will carry out a detailed analysis of their work in September.

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