Young nobleman Orlando is commanded by Queen Elizabeth I to stay forever young. Miraculously, he does just that. The film follows him as he moves through several centuries of British ... See full summary »
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Young nobleman Orlando is commanded by Queen Elizabeth I to stay forever young. Miraculously, he does just that. The film follows him as he moves through several centuries of British history, experiencing a variety of lives and relationships along the way, and even changing sex. Written by
Sally Potter's Orlando is a clever and ambitious dissection of love and gender that defies culturally sexed expectations in both content and form. The film owes much of its narrative experimentalism to Virginia Woolf, who first conceived the story of immortal, androgynous Orlando as an exploration of societal prejudice and conduct, satirizing naively patriarchal feelings of romantic ownership and the laughably self- important status of masculine art. Potter deserves credit, however, for translating the story into a Brechtian subversion of traditional viewership modes: the film's drag casting, fourth wall disruption, titles and music all remind us to be conscious and critical of how we engage the film. Orlando is anchored by a charming performance from Tilda Swinton, and some stunning costume and set design. It is a smart film that challenges the sexed gaze, and it genuinely earns the sense of hope it ends on. -TK 10/12/10
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