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Erland Josephson , Susan Fleetwood , Andrei Tarkovsky , Michal Leszczylowski    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
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Winner - Best Foreign Language Film -- BAFTA Film Award (1988)

Winner - Grand Prize of the Jury -- Cannes Film Festival (1986)

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TARKOVSKY 'LIGHT'...? Sept. 26 2003
...that seems to be the opinion of some reviewers. This film - Tarkovsky's final work - is certainly more accessible than his others, more straightforward in its storytelling...but there's a lot of wonderful elements involved, and it certainly doesn't deserve to be relegated to the 'minor works' category. Other reviewers have also drawn comparisons between this film and the work of Swedish director Ingmar Bergman - there is some of Bergman's 'look' to the film, perhaps because Tarkovsky chose to work with Sven Nykvist, who worked on several of Bergman's films. Even with this 'Bergmanesque' presence, this is definitely Tarkovsky's film - and if it's more accessible than some of his other works, perhaps it's a good place for someone who is unfamiliar with his work to start.
Several of Tarkovsky's favorite themes are present in SACRIFICE - alienation, an aching emptiness of the spirit, the slighting of nature by mankind. Erland Josephson portrays Alexander, a wealthy, semi-retired writer who lives with his wife, teenage daughter and 'Little Man', his young son, in a lovely house that sits rather isolated on the seaside in Sweden. His young son is obviously his favorite, the center of his soul and existence. We see him with the little boy, planting a tree, telling him a story about devotion to duty involving a young Japanese monk and his master.
Alexander's birthday is at hand, and his family, along with a couple of friends, makes ready to celebrate. As the group awaits dinner to be served, there is a roaring - like a low-flying jet - in the sky, followed by what appears at first to be a mild earthquake. A ceramic milk pitcher vibrates its way off a shelf, shattering on the floor - news broadcasts on the television indicate that World War III has begun.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tarkovsky's going away present July 5 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I can honestly call Andrei Tarkovsky perhaps the greatest director of the 20th century. His films represented the most artistic representation of the cinema, and frankly they are the only films that can stand to be watched again and again and remain just as interesting as they were upon first viewing.
He made only seven films, seven masterpieces I would be more inclined to say; and each one gave a Christian message of hope amongst a changing time. In all his films he goes to the past, recent past or future. Andrei Rublev deals with keeping faith in the 15th century; while Stalker and Solaris deal with humans need for God in the future. Regardless his films are very serious and somewhat dark, but are affirming of God and the goodness of the world.

Tarkovsky's last film is his only film to take place in the modern day. Its about making a sacrifice as an individual for a greater good. The plot is about an older atheist man who, upon hearing about a coming WWIII prays for the first time in his life. He prays as a last option, and throws himself to God as a sacrifice, that his family and grandson might be spared from this horrific turn for the worst.

I found myself moved by the power of this film; and even though it is his least accessible work, it is also his most personal work. Its not a film like Rublev or Stalker, its much more of a chamber drama, and it really isn't for everybody; but if you give it a fair chance you may find yourself moved by its power. I know I did.

Tarkovsky was going away, and he left The Sacrifice as a gift to the lovers of his work. I am very happy to accept this gift. 9/10.
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If you are hooked on films made by former advertising film makers or have an attention span limited to a one minute commercial, read no further. And don't buy this film. But if you yearn for the occasional silence, excepting sounds of nature, the occasional squeak of a cupboard door easing closed, the rustle of wind through leaves, the peculiar crackle of fire, then The Sacrifice may be your film. There is some music as well, but not the sounds of sweeping violins, rather the dramatic and eerie and mournful sound of a Japanese flute. The film is dedicated to the film maker's son "with hope and confidence" yet deals with the end of the world as it is under nuclear attack. Beginning and ending with the young seven year old son of the protaganist planting then watering a lone tree, the film deals with the machinations of a family, its affairs, desires, disappointments and how it reacts to the catastrophic news of nuclear war. The lingering camera movements are to me rivetting as are the use of mirrors. It is a meditative thought provoking film which I found immensely moving.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed masterpiece? April 13 2004
By dm
I love Tarkovsky and looked forward to viewing "The Sacrifice" after having seen Andrei Rublev, Solaris, The Mirror, and The Violin and the Steamroller. After first viewing, I found the picture confusing and hard to grasp. But, unlike "The Mirror," on subsequent viewing I realized that the reason that it is confusing and hard to grasp is that Tarkovsky has created a self-indulgent film based upon the amalgam of two different scripts that he had written. I don't think that he himself was clear on what he wanted to say, and I don't think he was concerned if the viewer is clear either. Perhaps this is because he knew this was his final film? Once again, though, the graphic images in the film are stunning, and his use of light, shadow, and reflections is genius.
But what makes the DVD eminently worth purchasing is the documentary "Directed by Tarkovsky" which is added as a bonus feature. The documentary shows the making of "The Sacrifice" (which does shed a little light on what he was trying to say) and it's fascinating to watch Tarkovsky at work. The documentary also includes interviews with him and his musings on life, death, and filmmaking.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this film
I invited my book club over to watch this wonderful film on Good Friday. Though not overtly religious, it does touch on all the big themes: love, sacrifice, redemption... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Cheryl Geeson
5.0 out of 5 stars A gorgeous, deep and mysterious film
Be prepared for a very slow moving film. It is a meditative experience and one that requires appreciation for ideas more than action, beautiful visuals more than storyline.
Published on April 30 2012 by nobody
5.0 out of 5 stars Tarkovsky At - Dare I Say - His Preachiest
'The Sacrifice,' Tarkovsky's final film and the second of his non Russian productions, shot by the great Sven Nykvist (Winter Light, Cries And Whispers) is his most direct - and... Read more
Published on Dec 31 2003 by 24fps
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece
I am continually amazed at the huge variation in people's tastes. Someone can give a 1 star rating and the next a 5 star rating for the same film. Read more
Published on Aug. 26 2003 by Mr. E. E. Heisler
5.0 out of 5 stars Wait for another transfer!!
I gave this 5 stars because the movie is a masterpiece. However, nostalghia.com, a devoted Tarkovsky site, has reported some serious flaws with the transfer:
The transfer of... Read more
Published on May 22 2003 by John Q. Rowland
4.0 out of 5 stars The Weight of Wind
No director I can think of ever used film to explore the moods and philosophical quandaries Tarkovsky does. Read more
Published on Jan. 10 2003 by Arch Llewellyn
5.0 out of 5 stars For the record...
Tarkovsky did NOT know of his illness until late in filming and even that is speculation. I have seen too many reviews stating that he knew of his illness during the filming of... Read more
Published on Dec 22 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Tarkovsky goes Bergmanesque
Expatriate Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky recruits Ingmar Bergman's production crew (including, most notably, his cinematographer) and invades the island of Faro, his old... Read more
Published on Nov. 8 2002 by Timothy Hulsey
5.0 out of 5 stars Contemplative Beauty Moves The Soul
The Sacrifice is arguably Tarkovsky's magnum opus. The plot provides a perfect spine
for this profoundly beautiful visual contemplation. The cinematography is peerless. Read more
Published on Oct. 23 2002
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