The Sacrifice, dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, Soviet Union 1986, 149 min., English, French and Swedish with English subtitles
At his isolated farmhouse on an island in the Baltic, a distinguished Swedish writer hears an announcement of the start of a nuclear war in the company of his wife and hitherto bickering friends. In the course of an anguished night, he makes a pact with God, swearing to renounce his family, self and possessions if the world is spared from destruction. He awakens to a sunlit morning in which the events of the previous day seem as remote as a dream - and sets about fulfilling his side of the bargain.
Filmed when Tarkovsky was already succumbing to cancer, The Sacrifice is imbued with an almost palpable sense of fear, faith and apocalyptic expectation. The film won Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in 1986.
Andrei Tarkovsky's last film was shot during spring and summer of 1985, while Tarkovsky was in exile. It turned out to be his final testament.
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