June 16, 2009
Image Entertainment, Inc.
- Runtime: 97 minutes
- NTSC (Canada and USA)
- Originally in Swedish
Bergman's highly symbolic, allegorical masterpiece.
In the middle of plague-ridden 14th-century Europe, Death and a war-weary knight play a game of chess. Between moves, the knight ponders life's great truths, while a wandering troupe of performers arrive. Although despair reigns in the dying city, the actors remain as a flicker of hope -- and it is they who receive special dispensation from the cruel fate that befalls all else.
Bergman's best known film, and one of the greatest works of cinema. On his way home from the crusades, a knight ponders the meaning of life. He comes face to face with a dark figure who is death, and to buy a little more time, the knight challenges death to a game of chess. The depth and substance of this film puts it eons ahead of most Hollywood productions.
Additional cast members include Inga Gill (Lisa), Maud Hansson (Witch), Ake Fridell (Smith), Gunnar Olsson (Church painter) and Erik Strandmark (Skat).
The print used for the Home Vision Cinema VHS version is from the Janus collection.