Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Man Who Sold The World

Offret (The Sacrifice)(1986)
Directed By Andrei Tarkovsky
Andrie Tarkaovsky's (Russia's finest film maker) final film takes elements from Ingmar Bergman, "I Am Cuba" with a story that if not influenced by, is a kind of psychic cousin to the later works of Philip K. Dick. A family on a small Swedish island, find out the world is about to endThere's nowhere to hid and nothing that can be done, planes can be heard overhead, and television warnings are all anyone knows. So far this doesn't sound too different from Bergman's "Shame" where a couple try to escape from the world and war, on a similar small Swedish Island. The difference is where Bergman, dissects his characters down to nothingness, Tarkovsky includes mysterious post-men obsessed with miracles, a maid who may be a powerful witch, a man with the chance to re-create the universe, and a love making scene in mid-air? That Tarkovsky moves with such subtly between psychological study, religious allegory, and science fiction tropes, shouldn't be too much of a surprise considering his early philosophical SF films like "Solaris", and "Stalker"(which I may re-watch, because of this film, though I hated it before). Like Philip K. Dick, end of the world paranoia, reality manipulation, and the religious (specifically Christian) ecstatic vision all merge together in 'The Sacrifice", with a lot more force and clarity(at least for me) than in any of his earlier films. The lead character seems like a stand in for Tarkovsky himself, his views on nature, art, God, progress, and humanity, seem to match pretty closely with some he gives in the interview section of the DVD. It's still slow as all hell, but the intensity of the story helps balance out the visual pace. It's not as instantly impressive as some of Tarkovsky's other films, but I think this maybe his strongest movie, all around. It's the story of a man who saved the world, without anyone ever knowing it, and the trade off, man must make with God, in order to survive. A prayer on film.

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