July 5, 2011
Kino on Video
- Runtime: 99 minutes
- NTSC (Canada and USA)
- Originally in Swedish
Andrew, a former actor and critic, lives in a remote home on the edge of the Baltic Sea. One year on his birthday, a sudden television announcement interrupts the celebration with news of a nuclear holocaust. The man's family and guests suffer through violent fits of hysteria and emotional turmoil in the ensuing days, but the troubled Andrew finds a clearness of mind when he makes a pact with God -- offering himself as a sacrifice in order to redeem the fallen earth for his cherished son.
An award-winning Swedish drama about redemption, the devastation and horror of the nuclear holocaust. A man seeks out symbolic sacrifices on the eve before a nuclear war as he gropes for psychological redemption. Tarkovsky's last film. Celebrated cameraman, Sven Nykvist, did the cinematography.
Shot in a widescreen process; its original aspect ratio
was 1.66: 1.
Winner of the Special Grand Jury Prize at the 1987 New York Film Festival.
Dan Myhrman is a camera assistant on the film. In 1991, when cinematographer Sven Nykvist made his solo directing debut with "Oxen", Myrhman was his director of photography.
"The Sacrifice" is Andrei Tarkovsky's last completed project. The director was already dying during the shooting of the film, and succumbed to lung cancer in December of 1986, the same year it was released. The film's co-editor, Michal Leszczylowski, directed a documentary about Tarkovsky's difficult last days on the set, entitled "Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky" (Sweden, 1988).
Swedish Director Ingmar Bergman said of Tarkovsky: "My discovery of Tarkovsky's first film was like a miracle. Suddenly, I found myself standing at the door of a room the keys of which had, until then, never been given to me. It was a room I had always wanted to enter and where he was moving freely and fully at ease. I felt encouraged and stimulated: someone was expressing what I had always wanted to say without knowing how. Tarkovsky is for me the greatest, the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream."
Andrei Tarkovsky on "The Sacrifice": "The issue I raise in this film is one that to my mind is most crucial: The absence in our culture of room for a spiritual existence. We have extended the scope of our material assets and conducted materialistic experiments without taking into account the threat posed by depriving man of his spiritual dimension. Man is suffering, but he doesn't know why. He senses an absence of harmony, and searches for the cause of it.
"I wanted to show that a man can renew his ties to life by renewing his covenant with himself and with the source of his soul. And one way to recapture moral integrity -- the state in which one no longer simply contemplates the value of material things, or allows oneself to function merely as a subject for society's experimentation -- is by having the capacity to offer oneself in sacrifice." (Excerpt from an interview with Tarkovsky by Annie Epelboin in Paris, March 15, 1986)