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Alexander, a journalist and former actor and philosopher, tells his little son how worried he is about the lack of spirituality of modern mankind. In the night of his birthday, the third world war breaks out. In his despair Alexander turns himself in a prayer to God, offering him everything to have the war not happen at all.Written by
Gert de Boer
I sit here, agog, with the holy terror of wonder and amazement at the immensely tender spirituality which this film has bestowed upon me.
This is my second Tarkovsky film...and now I am hooked. I am not going to be very successful in explaining this movie to anyone -- even to myself, so forgive the sketchiness of these reflections.
THE SACRIFICE is a revelation to me. The level of pathos I feel right now is overwhelming -- something that has occurred too infrequently in my life.
This film regards the human soul as the most precious commodity possible and life as it's most ample celebration. "Time cannot vanish without trace.." Tarkovsky has said. And so the time that Tarkovsky spent on this Earth, has been well spent and he has left more than a trace for future generations to wonder and ponder at.
I adore Tarkovsky's images, so lovingly photographed here by SVEN NIKVIST. Most remarkable of these images are the final settings where everything comes to a point...even THEY have dialogue made up of great silences packed with intensely significant emotions which have come from the protagonist's culmination.
The choice of music here is also deeply personal and wildly original in its contrasts and penetrating meaning. In the final strains, we hear first the modern and timeless Asian sensibilities of Watazumido Shuso. After which a great silence of visual narrative we are offered a spiritual selection from some of the most beautiful music ever written -- Johann Sebastian Bach's St. Matthew Passion.
All of these, combine in one's mind's eye and heart to provide the thoughtful viewer with one of the most spiritually satisfying endings of any movie I have ever witnessed.
The movie seems long but, it really isn't as long as you might imagine. I suppose it is because so much of the narrative is not splashed into our senses -- ready for regurgitation. There is much we must work for. There is much for which we must contribute our own viewpoints and form our own conclusions.
But then life isn't filled with dialogue in the conventional sense...it is more packed with our own thoughts and our own decisions -- as so is this film. It allows you to conclude many things on your own.
Isn't it kind of Tarkovsky to have been so benevolent to us and our panoply of thought-patterns? We come to this movie all with our different characters and personalities...Tarkovsky thought of this.
And he offered us a masterpiece - where we were the mental protagonist who made the endings for each us - our own -- and yet all different -- but the same, after all.
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