- The Sacrifice
- Sweden/France/United Kingdom1986
- Andrei Tarkovsky
- 145 DCP
“Hang on to the very end and you may find yourself moved as you have never been moved before.”Andrew Sarris, Village Voice
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 appears 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.
In Swedish with English subtitles
“No one else can approach his sense of the Apocalyptic. [Tarkovsky’s] death leaves a gaping hole in the cinema of spiritual quest.”Chris Peachment, Time Out