Screen/Society--AMI Showcase--"The Sacrifice"
Film Screening: "The Sacrifice" (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1986, 142 min, Sweden, UK, France, Swedish, French, English, with English subtitles, color, BluRay) -- Andrei Tarkovsky's final film begins in Bergmanesque fashion on a small, remote island, where friends and family gather for drama critic Alexander's (Erland Josephson) birthday celebration. The revelry is interrupted by a radio announcement: World War III has begun, and Mankind is only hours away from utter annihilation. Each of the guests reacts differently to the news: the most dramatic response is Alexander's, who promises God that he'll give up everything he holds dear--including his beloved 6-year-old son -- if war is averted. Allan Edwall, a local mailman with purported mystical powers, offers to intervene with the Creator on Josephson's behalf. The Sacrifice is so dependent upon its visuals and overall mood that any attempt at a detailed synopsis would be woefully inadequate. The willingness of Tarkovsky's protagonist to forego all his possessions may well have sprung from the cancer-ridden director's awareness that he, too, would soon be giving up everything to face his Maker. -- Winner of four awards at the Cannes Film Festival, including the Grand Prix! -- Screening made possible by support from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation.