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The Sacrifice [DVD]

Erland Josephson , Susan Fleetwood , Andrei Tarkovsky    Suitable for 12 years and over   DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
Price: £20.99
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Frequently Bought Together

The Sacrifice [DVD] + Nostalgia [DVD] + Andrei Tarkovsky Collection - 9-DVD Box Set ( Solaris / Ivan's Childhood / Andrei Rublev / The Mirror / Stalker ) ( Solyaris / Ivanovo detstvo / Andrey Rublyov / Zerkalo / Stalker )
Price For All Three: £87.37

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Product details

  • Actors: Erland Josephson, Susan Fleetwood, Valerie Mairesse, Allan Edwall, Gudrun Gisladottir
  • Directors: Andrei Tarkovsky
  • Format: Subtitled, Colour, Black & White, Widescreen, Dolby, PAL
  • Language: Swedish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 28 Oct 2002
  • Run Time: 142 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006SKU4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,370 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Andrei Tarkovsky's final film, which won a special Jury Prize at Cannes in 1986. On an isolated Swedish island Alexander (Erland Josephson), his wife, their children, her lover and various eccentric friends gather around a radio when nuclear war is announced. Alexander attempts to strike a deal with God and is willing to sacrifice everything, including his six-year-old son, in order to avert the war and mankind's annihilation.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, but unsummarisable - see below... 12 Oct 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Yet again, Tarkovsky gives us what he is best at: a deeply moving/worrying/almost spiritual plot, excellent scenery, and his famed long shots (some last up to 10 minutes, the most film that could be fitted to his cameras).
A short plot summary (purists, look away now): War breaks out in Russia, and the family which we are following reacts badly to the planes overhead and the general threatening feeling of atomic bombs. The head of the household prays that night that if only everything were to be put back to how it was the previous morning, he would give up everything. Everything... His house, his family, his small deaf/dumb child; everything.
He wakes up the next morning to find there has never been a war.
To seriously give away the plot ending, an interesting note is that when filming the last dramatic scene for the first time, not only did lots of things go wrong, but finally the camera jammed. This was a problem, since they actually burnt down the house! (No models...) So they rebuilt the house and did the shot again. That particular shot, the climax to the film, lasts around 7 minutes, and is pure genius.
I would recommend this film to anyone that likes any of Tarkovsky's other 6 films, and also to anyone that likes Kubrick's work. The tension mixed with the use of various "proper" music (eg Bach's St Matthew Passion) is breathtaking.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Yet another masterpiece ruined by DNR 1 Aug 2012
I totally disagree with the previous review; this is a wonderful movie ruined by excessive DNR, yet another one, shame on Kino. I'm sorry to say that there is far too much DNR manipulation, resulting on false edge enhancement, softness, and lack of detail. Movies shot in celluloid are supposed to be grainy, that is the cinematic soul of these movies, and by trying to eliminate it, the original definition of detail in the film is simply destroyed, hence the softness and blurry aspect. Looking at those waxy faces just makes me sad and wish for a real HD transfer of this wonderful movie as it was orignally shot, without artificial manipulation.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This was Tarkovsky's seventh and final full-length work for the cinema; he died of cancer shortly after its completion. This thought-provoking 142-minute film tells the story of two days spent at the country home of actor-writer Alexander (played by Erland Josephson - Domenico in Tarkovsky's `Nostalgia') on the Swedish island of Gotland (the final home, incidentally, of Ingmar Bergman). The plot can be simply told.

Here Alexander lives with his young son and beautiful teenage daughter Marta (Filippa Franzen), and here he holds a small party to celebrate his birthday. His ex-wife Adelaide (Susan Fleetwood) and her new husband Victor (Sven Vollter) arrive, as does neighbour Otto (Allan Edwall - you may remember him from Bergman's `Fanny & Alexander'), who happens to be a retired teacher, is now the district postman, and all his life has collected facts about unexplained phenomena. (The quote at the head of this review is Otto's as he gives Alexander an antique map of Europe as his birthday present.) Also present is the maid Julia (Valerie Mairesse) and the enigmatic servant Maria (Gudrun Gisladottir), from Iceland. Her naming is significant, and Otto calls her a witch, "in the best sense".

Over these two days an apocalypse occurs (nuclear war is hinted) and Alexander suffers a spiritual crisis, making a vow to a God he long ceased to recognise, sacrificing for his son's sake the pleasures of his life if only things could go back to how they were before: "I will give thee all I have. I'll give up my family whom I love; I'll destroy my home; and give up Little Man [his son]. I'll be mute and never speak another word to anyone. I'll relinquish everything that binds me to life, if only thou dost restore everything as it was before, as it was this morning and yesterday.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN AUTHENTIC WORK OF ART 21 Feb 2006
In decades of movie going and collecting, there are only a few films that keep coming to mind at unexpected moments. For me, this is what great art does; that is, it becomes a part of one's experience and not just a momentary diversion.
THE SACRIFICE is a great film. It touches on the most fundamental questions of being a human in our post-modern world. And it does it with extraordinary grace and a sublime, haunting, beauty.
To miss the point of this film, as some reviewers have, or to call it sophomoric, as others do, is to admit one's own inability to consider that life itself may hold a greater, dare I say, spiritual, meaning and that we are more than an accidental fluke in a cold, uncaring universe.
This film dares to use its considerable art to challenge us like a zen koan and a prayer. It is a meditation on what it means to be fully human and mortal and moral. It asks us to wonder at the unknown and it weeps that we are prisoners of our humanity -- and that we hold the fate of our planet in our hands.
All this sounds kind of pretentious, I know, but this magnificent yet simple film works on a higher level than most movies. It's not easily categorized. But on a big screen, I was hypnotized by the extraordinary cinematography and equally transported by the subtle ideas. It was a transcendent movie going experience that I didn't expect and one that has remained vivid as the years pass.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars This is an Interesting film and deserves better but the encode...
This is an Interesting film and deserves better but the encode presented here is sub standard. The picture has visible scanning lines throughout.
Published 25 days ago by J. M. Jeffreys
4.0 out of 5 stars the Sacrifice
Its definitely thoughtful. Its beautiful. It takes me a bit of discipline to stick with something that is so subtle.. but I loved its quality.
Published 4 months ago by Clare Ling
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!
Kino have done an exceptional job with this Blu-ray release of Tarkovsky's final masterwork. The difference between this and their earlier DVD release is like night and day. Read more
Published on 17 May 2012 by gradnick
1.0 out of 5 stars Difficult going!
I love all of Tarkovsky's other films with the exception of Nostalgia which I don't particularly loathe but don't think is of the standard of his other works, something I put down... Read more
Published on 6 Oct 2011 by Kuma
5.0 out of 5 stars The sacrifice, a psychoanalytic approach to Tarkovsky's metaphysics
If you are serious in exploring cinema, I advise you NOT to see this film. Things will no longer be the same again for you; great films that you admire and haunt you will all... Read more
Published on 23 Sep 2011 by ekplatonos
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sacrifice, a psychoanalytic approach to Tarkovsky's metaphysics
If you are serious in exploring cinema, I advise you NOT to see this film. Things will no longer be the same again for you; great films that you admire and haunt you will all... Read more
Published on 5 Sep 2011 by Platon
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Tarkovsky Film Made In Sweden.
I saw The Sacrifice just now for the first time, and I have to recommend it for its graceful cinematography, thoughtful and serious minded subject, masterful use of colour and... Read more
Published on 4 Jan 2011 by Philoctetes
3.0 out of 5 stars Scary Face
Why would anybody bother to give something three stars? Five stars, yes, of course, you love it ! One star, sure, you hate it! But three? It was OK. Read more
Published on 10 Dec 2010 by A. Stark
2.0 out of 5 stars Charming beginning, which descends into epic pretention
The opening of this film is enchanting. The story told is funny and the dramatic setting is intriguing. Even the drawing room drama that develops keeps your interest for a while. Read more
Published on 14 Oct 2010 by William Cohen
5.0 out of 5 stars Levitating
What a loss. Dead at 54. This last film possibly signalling a new phase for this master of cinema. Still his legacy leaves us with seven eternal masterpieces that will always be... Read more
Published on 22 Mar 2010 by Room For A View
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