Ingmar Bergman, The Seventh Seal (1956)

Max von Sydow, playing a medieval knight, challenges Death to a game of chess.

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        To read a synopsis of the film's plot to see how Bergman integrates allegory into the plot's representation of historical realism, click here.   The already allegorical nature of chess, in which opponents wage war with figures representing elements of medieval society, here becomes the medium of Bergman's plot's depiction of a man's struggle with Death.  The film also ends with one of the most popular fifteenth-century representations of mortality, the Dance of Death, in which Death leads away over the horizon a dancing chain of victims from every walk of life, breaking the medieval hierarchy of the estates and the division between clergy and laity in one awful democracy. 

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