The Sacrifice

(Offret)
Sweden 1986. Dir: Andrei Tarkovsky. 145 min. DCP

NEW RESTORATION! Armageddon is imminent in Russian mystic and master Andrei Tarkovsky’s devastating final film, described by the director as a meditation on “the absence in our culture of room for spiritual experience.” Made in Sweden with several members of Ingmar Bergman’s team — including cinematographer Sven Nykvist and actor Erland Josephson (who also appeared in Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia) — the film is set on an isolated island, where Alexander (Josephson), a distinguished man of letters, lives in idyllic semi-retirement. The apple of his eye is his young son Little Man, who represents for Alexander the great hope of the future. When that future is abruptly threatened by an unthinkable cataclysm, Alexander, in desperation, strikes an extraordinary bargain with God. Photographed in ethereal northern light, and opening and closing with two of cinema’s most breathtaking single-take sequence shots, The Sacrifice is a transfixing work of great formal rigour and intensity from one of cinema’s true visionaries.


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REVIEWS

"A stunningly beautiful film ... Rewards in burst after burst of beauty."

New York Times | full review

"No director could wish a more splendid valedictory ... A gift to us all."

LA Times | full review