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The Sacrifice

Offret / Жертвоприношение
by Andrei Tarkovsky

Former actor Alexander has withdrawn to live on a Swedish island. He is celebrating his 50th birthday there with his wife, two children and a few guests. When the Earth begins to tremble, the group hears that nuclear war has broken out. To appease God, Alexander is prepared to offer himself up as a sacrifice by sleeping with the maid, Maria, called a “witch”… This was the last film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, who was already sick when it was made. It premiered just a few weeks after the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown and was hailed as the graphic admonition of a “visionary” (Ingmar Bergman). And indeed, in poetic images and philosophical-religious dialogue, The Sacrifice marries the merciless précis of its protagonist’s life with a powerful plea for modern humans to engage in self-reflection and self-restraint.

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