Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Offret (The Sacrifice)

This is the last Andrei Tarkovsky film and is quite intense, very intense! Even for me that I can say that I’m used to very intense movies. Just imagine that some critics call this movie his “most generally accessible work”, yes sure… this is as complex as the movies made by who probably inspire him to do this drama full of words: Ingmar Bergman. For many moments I thought I was seeing a Bergman movie.

The film is in Swedish, filmed in Sweden very near to then Soviet Union and is a Sweden, UK and France production, but Tarkovsky says this movie is “as Russian as any other made by me” and no doubt about it as even if is only the third movie I see I can recognize many signs of his own and particular seal and legacy to worldwide cinema.

What story it tells? Think that there are too many stories here and is you the viewer who have to see the story that fits more your mind, your beliefs and your world. The story outline goes something like this: a middle aged intellectual whose birthday dinner is interrupted by something that you can say is like a nuclear bomb exploding (or perhaps is not…) and the TV sends a message to stay where you are as is the safest place to be (or perhaps is not…). Power goes out, nothing works in the isolated place where he and his family live. So, what do you do? Wait until everything is over, meaning total destruction and death or do something about it. He does something about it.

Outstanding cinematography that enhanced the idyllic island where the movie is set, but the use of the camera is so amazing and troubling, like the first take that lasts about 9 minutes and is a single shot! There is a majestic fire that will blow your mind because of the sounds and the images. Then the use of light, black and white for disasters and reality (he did the same in Stalker) and color for…bliss? fantasy? not reality? and a house full of natural light that becomes darker than darker. Amazing!

Very good performances complement this outstanding movie and make me more interested in seeing the other Tarkovsky films and I will, but after each of his movies I have to take a break as this is truly an extraordinary director with movies that you need time to digest.

The film was wrote also by Tarkowsky and won the Grand Prix at 1986 Cannes and many other awards and nominations in other festivals and awards.

Absolutely not for all audiences but is a must be seen for those that enjoy complex masterpieces based on dialogue and the excellent use of all available cinema techniques.


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