A Brief Word on Max von Sydow (1929 – 2020)

It’s difficult to overstate how significant of an actor Max von Sydow was, not solely to the European arthouse scene of the late 50s and 60s but to international cinema in general, having worked with the likes of George Stevens, John Huston, Jan Troell, William Friedkin, David Lynch, Wim Wenders, and Martin Scorsese. He was an actor renown for his stoic features and stern presence that communicated a deep angst with the surrounding world; whether he was the lead character or in a supporting role, von Sydow often bore the emotional crux of the film.

Of course, von Sydow is most known for his collaborations with Ingmar Bergman (and, with the exception of Liv Ullmann, was the Swedish auteur’s most important performer); their partnership yielded some of Bergman’s best films (including Wild Strawberries, The Magician, Winter Light, Hour of the Wolf, Shame, and countless others). The most famous of their work together is undoubtedly The Seventh Seal, which if I recall correctly, was amongst the first non-English speaking movies I saw, and left a huge impression on my teenage self. 

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