The Sacrifice

Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986) is generally considered to be the greatest director of post-war Soviet cinema and the last of the European Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986) is generally considered to be the greatest director of post-war Soviet cinema and the last of the European art-film generation. Full of deep spiritual and ecological concern and possessing an intensely poetic style, Tarkovsky infuses his vision into his films with uncompromising commitment. His final film, shot in Sweden with the help of Ingmar Bergman and made with the knowledge that he was dying of cancer, poses one last set of questions about morality, spirituality, and life’s meaning. The film follows 24 hours in the lives of seven friends who have gathered on an island for their host’s (Erland Josephson) birthday party. During dinner, the ground shakes and the news is announced that World War III has begun. In elegantly composed shots, we follow the man as he makes the difficult decision to sacrifice himself to God to prevent violence from touching the lives of his family. Both testament and epitaph, The Sacrifice’s mix of magic, madness, memory, and dream provides a fitting summary. Grand Jury Prize, Cannes Film Festival.

Appears in: Special Screenings

Genres: Drama

Other Films by Andrei Tarkovsky

The Mirror

The most visually poetic and personal of Tarkovsky’s films, THE MIRROR has no conventional plot. Rather, the film takes the viewer on a chronological journey through the memories—real and imagined—of an unnamed narrator who lies dying of cancer. The seemingly random images create a melancholic montage of the mundane events of our lives through which

Nostalghia

Russian master Tarkovsky’s penultimate film, shown here on the occasion of its 30th anniversary, follows Yankovskiy (Andrei Gorchakov), a poet who falls in with a Tuscan madman (Erland Josephson) while traveling through Italy and researching the life of an 18th-century Ukrainian composer who spent his final years there. Yankovskiy, increasingly isolated from those around him,

Ivan’s Childhood

During World War II, young Ivan (Nikolay Burlyaev) scurries across Soviet and German lines, having been recruited as a spy by Russian forces. Via vivid dream and flashback sequences, the film grants us glimpses of what this orphaned child had before war rendered everything a cold, war torn landscape bereft of comfort. Tarkovsky’s first film