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The Sacrifice (free)

  • Vilas Hall 821 University Avenue Madison, WI, 53706 United States (map)

Andrei Tarkovsky's final film is an apocalyptic masterpiece. Info/tix


The Sacrifice is Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky's final film, which he made while in Sweden as an expatriate after he was censored by the Soviets. He shot it on the beautiful Swedish island of Narsholmen, and his trademark long shots make the somber, wide-open fields of the coast  feel simultaneously infinite and claustrophobic. Likewise, The Sacrifice, released in 1986, is as much about a family on a tiny sliver of the Earth as it is about international politics.

The film begins with Alexander, a former actor who is now a writer and lecturer, spending the day with his temporarily mute son "Little Man," before celebrating his birthday with family and friends. Alexander often philosophizes on the nature of his life, declaring to his toddler that there is no such thing as death. When the group hears a radio broadcast about the possibility of impending nuclear warfare stemming from World War III, the once-idyllic bourgeois world is thrown into chaos. The action of the characters is often interrupted by flying jets that shake the foundation of the house, and the psychological state of the family disintegrates, leading to a captivating final scene. This screening wraps up UW Cinematheque's series of Tarkovsky masterpieces, which also includes sci-fi thrillers Solaris and Stalker. —Reid Kurkerewicz

Earlier Event: April 26
Chris Hardwick (multiple showtimes)
Later Event: April 27