Saturday, June 9, 2007

The Sacrifice (1986)

Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. Starring Erland Josephson and Susan Fleetwood.

The films of director Andrei Tarkovsky aren't made for casual viewing, but for those willing to put forth some effort they can be intensely rewarding. My favorite of his films is this one, his final work, made shortly before his death. In the film, a man living on a remote Swedish island hears over the radio that the end of the world is approaching, and gathers his family and close friends together to await the end together. They talk, and while some accept their fate, others (to quote Dylan Thomas) "rage against the dying of the light", until the man decides to try to do something. He visits a local mystic, who helps the man fend off the end of the world, but at the cost of the man's sanity. Tarkovsky's film is profound, asking a number of difficult questions, and the film is also very beautiful, courtesy of the great cinematographer Sven Nykvist. Certainly not a film for everyone, THE SACRIFICE is a must-see for those who take cinema seriously as a philosophical medium.

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