Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice

Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice (Sweden, 1986) offers a hypnotic sequence of images, the camera tracking sideways across rooms and fields, fog horns and chanting girls in the background. Amazingly, the 143-minute film is comprised of only 115 shots, some of these over eight minutes in length. This, Tarkovsky’s final film made while diagnosed with terminal cancer, is a staggering work that strikes at a primal level. And while the film can get bogged down by an obscured story and series of monologues, the images are profound.The colors transform throughout, sometimes into black and white, often washed out, dreams and reality, from an apocalypse through a glass partition to a sleeping boy, until it all seems to mean the same thing. It’s us and all in our head.

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