30 DAYS OF FANDOR, DAY 29: THE SACRIFICE (1986)

Offret The Sacrifice Tarkovsky

Day 29: THE SACRIFICE (OFFRET) (Andrei Tarkovsky, Sweden/UK/France, 1986)

I remain… intrigued but ultimately unconvinced regarding The Sacrifice, the Russian master filmmaker’s final film; somehow his work almost always ends up being a bridge too far for me. Nonetheless, I found myself deeply engaged for about the first 2/3, in large part due to the exquisite visual sensibility—Sven Nykvist’s melancholy color palette, austere interior spaces, and expansive exterior shots constantly bringing to my mind favorite paintings by Whistler and Wyatt—and, as is often the case with Tarkovsky’s cinema, the nuanced, enigmatic approach to sound design. Also appreciated the voluptuous atmospheric ambiguity: long stretches seem to be playing out in some distant past, and then a radio or TV appears, a jolting re-recognition of (the film’s) contemporary present.

But then the lurking creepy psychosexual stuff inevitably takes over the narrative in the second half (this is Tarkovsky), and I was pretty much done: I already find Erland Josephson’s approach to acting rather tedious to begin with, so by the time the (admittedly awesome) technical feat that comprises the final sequence arrived my patience had long been spent. And so Tarkovsky continues to remain a major cinematic figure I find myself largely indifferent to; Nostalghia (also available on Fandor) remains his one film I genuinely like and most deeply respond to.

[Watch The Sacrifice on Fandor here.]

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