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Sacrifice [Import]

4.4 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Erland Josephson, Susan Fleetwood, Brian Cox, Andrei Tarkovsky, Allan Edwall
  • Directors: Andrei Tarkovsky, Michal Leszczylowski
  • Writers: Andrei Tarkovsky, Michal Leszczylowski
  • Producers: Anna-Lena Wibom, Lisbet Gabrielsson
  • Format: Color, DVD-Video, Letterboxed, Subtitled, NTSC, Import
  • Language: Russian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All RegionsAll Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Studio: Kino Video
  • Release Date: Sept. 1 2004
  • Run Time: 246 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews
  • ASIN: 6305744106
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Product Description


Winner - Best Foreign Language Film -- BAFTA Film Award (1988)

Winner - Grand Prize of the Jury -- Cannes Film Festival (1986) --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
...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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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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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
No director I can think of ever used film to explore the moods and philosophical quandaries Tarkovsky does. For me though, "Solaris" and "Stalker" remain the best expressions of his metaphysical vision. "The Sacrifice" lends some of the most powerful visual effects from these earlier efforts to a gaggle of half-developed characters that never quite convinced me they deserved them. With the wonderful exception of the mysterious postman, Otto, the characters inhabit a muffled, haute-bourgeois world of spiritual angst and existential dread, with servants to clear the tea-things between musings. Maybe Tarkovsky means to critique their privileged lives, but his sympathy for the main character, Alexander, is so clear as to make him seem like a stand-in for Tarkovsky himself. Alexander's laments about our civilization's destructiveness, its violence against nature in search of a bland material comfort may very well be true, but as expressed in Alexander's monologues aren't they just a little . . . banal?
What stands out for me most about the movie is the pregnant sense of possibility that Tarkovsky infuses into even the most ordinary scenes. The glacial, almost imperceptible movements of the camera, the wind riffling through grass or shawls or curtains, the haunting vibration of glasses--all insinuate the presence, or maybe just the barest possibility, of something like God. Part of the movie's point seems to be to make you feel the sterility of life without that presence; an 'eternal recurrence' like Otto mentions at the beginning, in which the sense that our routine lives are a waiting for something higher never lifts. Tarkovsky's gift as a director is to communicate visually that this waiting might have a purpose after all.
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