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"[Andrei Tarkovsky] is the greatest Russian filmmaker since Sergei Eisenstein and yet he stands outside the Soviet tradition of materialism and dares to say that he is spiritual..." - Roger Ebert, the Chicago Sun-Times
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Plunge into the depths of your own sub-conscious with Andrei Tarkovsky. All of his films demand multiple viewings.
Absolutely magnificent masterpiece.
What makes Tarkovsky's work so brilliant, in each of his films, is he takes time to create a mood, casting what at times feel like, a spell, over his viewers. In this brilliant film, Tarkovsky offers the viewer a real horror story, done so with finesse, style, and stunning cinematography. "The Sacrifice" takes its time in developing it's mood, feel and ultimately horrific payoff, however, the film is extraordinary, striking and one you will never forget. A real masterwork by a master filmmaker.
As I told Judy Stone when I walked out of the morning press screening in 1986, it "blew me away." She scoffed slightly and turned away at my inarticulateness. I went back to pouring coffee and scooping popcorn. Now that I am nearly 50, and have lived, I will say that it still blows me away. A deeply resonant film, every frame and word speaks to the question, "What are the ways that we are manifestations of this life force, and what are we without it?" A perfect offering for our day-of-the-dead season, end-of-the-world month, and day of the hurricane. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily. Life is but a dream.
As the unfolding of this masterpiece takes time so does our ability to see into it. We need to experience many of the things made evident here in order to understand the profound depth of this allegory.Tarkovsky has done us all a great favor with this whether we are ready for it or not. If you choose to return to it in the future it will still offer up it's rewards up to you.
I've read enough about this movie to know that by bailing out early I may very well have missed out on some special moments of artistic creativity and spirituality. But early in this film, Alexander says he wishes that somebody would stop talking and actually do something. After another half hour passed, I was still thinking the same thing!
First off: The image Fandor uses for this movie's page spoils the ending. It is the first time I've seen that with Fandor- thought they'd know better.
That aside, The Sacrifice is a beautiful film. Every shot is elegantly framed with movements coming and going of their own free will.
The themes of religion and philosophy, of thinking versus living, is timeless. As long as there is sentient life, this movie will have an audience. Having seen Lars Von Trier's Melancholia first, the comparisons draw themselves. But while they share the same general pre-apocalypse hysteria, this film has a lot more to say.
The main thing to come away from it is this: Scared for the fall; I must let go. In the absence of God, so I must make it so.
The doctor says it succinctly (being an almost complete familial replacement for the protagonist- a sort of foil for him in that he gets his wife's and daughter's love and affection and so answers their cries when asked tearfully why he's leaving for Australia), "Why? Because I'm tired. Tired of being your nursemaid. And your warden."
This is at once what Alexander wants to say and it could also be the sentiment of God, as the subjects of Catholicism and Nihilism play huge, prominent roles, but I could write a whole essay on those aspects alone.
I am left with this thought:
The eternal irony that is at once comedic and tragic is that we must lose all that we hold onto in order to be free from it all.
“Let everything that's been planned come true. Let them believe. And let them have a laugh at their passions. Because what they call passion actually is not some emotional energy, but just the friction between their souls and the outside world. And most important, let them believe in themselves. Let them be helpless like children, because weakness is a great thing, and strength is nothing. When a man is just born, he is weak and flexible. When he dies, he is hard and insensitive. When a tree is growing, it's tender and pliant. But when it's dry and hard, it dies. Hardness and strength are death's companions. Pliancy and weakness are expressions of the freshness of being. Because what has hardened will never win.”
― Andrei Tarkovsky
I initially watched this film because the cinematographer was Sven Nykvist who worked extensively with Ingmar Bergman. This was a film that was slow paced and a little tedious n the beginning with protracted philosophical discussions among characters. However, as the film progressed, the lack of direction became engaging. This is a film that would definitely be worth watching more than once, especially after reading more about Tarkovsky. The stark landscapes, complex imagery, and use of light exemplifies the experience and artistry of Sven Nykvist.
__Or maybe 31/2 stars! Certainly keeps you guessing; as it turns out anything can happen in this storyline.
Because this film is regarded widely as a masterpiece, I have tried and failed three--THREE!--times to get through it. Indeed it is admirable, if ponderous and affected is your sort of thing. But I was utterly miserable--except when I detected kulning, floating over the horizon, very early in the story. Really it's worth getting that far, just to hear that.
One of my favorite films. Who gave it 2 stars? Not I!
spiritual, prolific, poetic, human nature, truth