Tarkovsky's "The Sacrifice" (1/4)

Brand-new 35mm print! Andrei Tarkovsky’s final film is yet another of his beautifully absorbing and hypnotic portraits of madness. As aging philosopher Alexander meets with friends at his house on the misty plains of rural Sweden, the radio announces WWIII is at hand. In an appeasement to God, Alex offers his own voice and sanity in exchange for sparing life on Earth — and when the Bomb doesn’t drop, what is he to do? Show-stopping cinematography from frequent Bergman collaborator Sven Nykvist (including the most incredibly lifelike, “sun-lit” soundstage interiors since Kubrick’s The Shining) and epic sound design ride alongside Tarkovsky’s masterful deployment of near-imperceptible legerdemain: once Alexander’s life continues as “normal,” every subtle replacement of items and people in the frame throws into question, much like Solaris, the rapid crumbling of an old soul already given to questioning reality. The Sacrifice is a graceful summation of all Tarkovsky’s auteurly ideals, hopes and dreams up to that point — and sadly is the master’s swan song, painfully hinting at the remainder of a career that was not to be, after his untimely passing in 1986.
Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, 1986, 35mm, 142 min.

Watch an excerpt from “The Sacrifice”!
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Watch Roger Ebert duking it out for “The Sacrifice” on “Siskel & Ebert”!
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