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The Sacrifice [DVD]


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Product details

  • Actors: Erland Josephson, Susan Fleetwood, Valérie Mairesse, Allan Edwall, Gudrun Gisladottir
  • Directors: Andrei Tarkovsky
  • Producers: Anna-Lena Wibom
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Swedish
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Sept. 2011
  • Run Time: 142 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0051ZHA2A

Reviews

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.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By humpage@musician.org on 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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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Francisco José Poyato Ariza on 1 Aug. 2012
Format: Blu-ray
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Philoctetes TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 Jan. 2011
Format: DVD
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 affecting acting performance from Erland Josephson in the role of Alexander. But I was fascinated and delighted by some of the other reviews here, especially those that acknowledge an oxymoronic experience: loving the film despite being bored by it.

Under 2.5hrs but slow-paced, Tarkovsky's The Sacrifice, like all his films, is visually beguiling for many viewers who are nevertheless wearied by the philosophising and meditative conversations. Yet I found it much more comprehensible than Mirror or Stalker. I wonder if Tarkovsky thought of a sequel to illustrate the consequences of Alexander's actions?

The real question is how one approaches the experience of sitting through a screening of a Tarkovsky film, as opposed to say, watching a Holywood summer blockbuster? For they are very different experiences, different works that make different demands of the spectator. I can't deny that I drifted part of the way through this film, but I sense that if I watch it again, and again, I will get more from it. It will become less wearisome, more stimulating.

I recommend this to anyone interested in Tarkovsky's work, along with Ivan's Childhood and also Solaris.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 May 2008
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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