MOVIE DIRECTOR INGMAR BERGMAN DIES

Famed movie director Ingmar Bergman

Ingmar Bergman, one of the most influential film makers of the 20th Century, has died aged 89.Woody Allen once described the Swedish director as "probably the greatest film artist".Bergman was widely acclaimed for films such as The Seventh Seal in 1957 and Fanny And Alexander (1982), which won four Oscars, including Best Foreign Language Film.He made more than 50 films, encompassing all the extremes of his native Sweden.They featured the claustrophobic gloom of unending winter nights, glowing summer evenings and the bleak magnificence of the island where he spent his last years.Bergman first gained international attention with 1955's Smiles Of A Summer Night, a romantic comedy that inspired the Stephen Sondheim musical A Little Night Music. But it was The Seventh Seal, released two years later, that riveted critics and audiences.An allegorical tale of the medieval Black Plague years, it contains one of cinema's most famous scenes - a knight playing chess with the shrouded figure of Death.His last work was Saraband, a made-for-television film on Swedish public television in December 2003.The show starred Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson, two of Bergman's favourite actors.Though best known internationally for his films, Bergman was also a prominent stage director.Allen's tribute came in a 1988 celebration of Bergman's 70th birthday, saying he was "probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera".

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