STARRING: Erland Josephson, Susan Fleetwood, Valerie Mairesse, Allan Edwall, Gudrun Gisladottir, Sven Wollter, Filippa Franzen, Tommy Kjellqvist

1986, 145 Minutes, Directed by: Andrei Tarkovsky

Um, a plot synopsis of The Sacrifice? "A Swedish writer promises God that he will destroy his own life by renouncing his home, his family, and speech if World War III is revoked," John Clute in his excellent Illustrated Science Fiction Encyclopedia gives us his best shot. His guess is as good as anybody else's I suppose. So what's the film about? "An examination of the need for, and lack of, spirituality in modern society," Leonard Maltin gives us his best shot.

But the point is that The Sacrifice is a good film because of the same reason that 2001: A Space Odyssey is a good film: it'll give cinema audiences something to talk about (and remember) afterwards.

The Sacrifice, famed Russian director Andrei (Solaris) Tarkovsky's last film, is a pondering, intense, obscure film filled with images that will haunt the collective memories of everybody who has seen it. Throw in Zen Buddhism, Nietzsche and large dosages of Ibsen, add some music by Bach and you have a film that is perhaps not in everybody's taste, but anybody who wants more intelligence than aliens blowing up the Empire State Building from a film should see it . . .



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