The Sacrifice () - Rotten Tomatoes
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From visionary filmmaker Rick Alverson TH…. We shot a raucous conversation between Ferrara and Dafo…. General Inquiries Kino Lorber, Inc. Email: contact kinolorber. But it is more complex and ambiguous than it appeared at the time: its tragic meaning has darkened and clotted with time.
The setting is a Bergmanesque summer house in Sweden, in which Bergman's own repertory player Erland Josephson plays Alexander, a retired actor and author of great distinction, who is about to celebrate a sombre and faintly melancholy birthday in the company of his beautiful English-born wife Adelaide, played by Susan Fleetwood, along with children, servants, friends and locals.
A radio announcement warns of an imminent nuclear apocalypse, and that night Alexander begs God to spare the world and in return he will destroy his family and everything he holds dear. The next morning everything has returned to normal, and it is apparently now up to Alexander to fulfil his side of the bargain with God.
Josephson's speech to God, beseeching Him to turn aside from the final destruction, is very remarkable - has prayer ever been rendered so passionately, so convincingly, on screen? The final scenes in which his house is ablaze in the middle of a vast nowhere look a little more contrived now: perhaps because Tarkovsky's perfectionist demand for the fire to be staged a second time has now passed into legend: The Sacrifice needs its own awestruck, gossipy documentary, like the one Apocalypse Now had in Heart of Darkness. It is however the very artificiality with which the rickety house goes up in an insurance-job fireball with just one match which makes it so riveting; Sven Nykvist's camera drifts back and forth with dreamlike gentleness across the panorama, in which a quaint little ambulance no fire engine, mark you appears out of nowhere to take Alexander away.
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