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Page last updated at 15:09 GMT, Tuesday, 29 September 2009 16:09 UK

Bergman items sold off at auction

Death (L) plays knight at Chess in The Seventh Seal, pic courtesy of Everett Collection/Rex features
The crusader knight prolonged his life by challenging Death at chess

Chess pieces used to delay Death in Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal have been sold for 1m Swedish crowns (£90,250; $143,000), officials say.

Max von Sydow played a crusader knight who extended his life by playing Death at chess in the 1957 film.

The pieces were among 339 items owned by the Swedish director which were sold at auction in Stockholm on Monday.

The collection, including awards, notes written by Bergman and one of his desks, raised around 18m crowns.

"This exceeds all expectations," Carl Barkman, head curator at Bukowski's auctioneers, was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

The items were viewed by some 8,000 people and the Bukowski's website was visited by browsers from more than 100 countries before the sale, the auctioneers said.

The pieces came from the director's home on the remote Baltic island of Faaroe. Proceeds from the auction were to be shared among his family - he fathered eight children with his wives and mistresses.

'Scared of death'

Bergman, who died in 2007 at the age of 89, was known as "the poet of the cinema".

Chess-pieces that belonged to Ingmar Bergman which were auctioned on 28 September 2009
The near-complete set was auctioned with other items from Bergman's home

He was a leader of the so-called "auteur" directors, whose films featured a personal visual style, tackling profound questions about love, death and God.

An international art-house hit, The Seventh Seal sealed the director's reputation.

Bergman said he was "terribly scared of death" at the time, and the film was said to echo modern fears of a nuclear holocaust.

His other films include the Oscar-winning The Virgin Spring in 1961 and Through a Glass Darkly, which won a best foreign film Oscar in 1962.

Fanny and Alexander earned him a third best foreign film Oscar in 1982.



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