ANDREI TARKOVSKY’S THE SACRIFICE (1986)

Andrei Tarkovsky was dying as he made his final film, The Sacrifice(1986). It can be likened to the epic last testaments of Ludwig van Beethoven, Paul Gauguin, Gustav Mahler, Luigi Nono, John Huston, and David Bowie. Tarkovsky dedicated the film to his son, Andrejusja, “with hope and confidence.” Like Mahler, Tarkovsky exits in a universal communication: “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?” Despite the milieu of finality that permeates The Sacrifice, it was a narrative that had long been percolating with Tarkovsky, who referred to it as a parable, open to multifarious interpretations. It should … Continue reading ANDREI TARKOVSKY’S THE SACRIFICE (1986)

CARL THEODORE DREYER’S DAY OF WRATH (1943)

Carl Theodor Dreyer‘s Day of Wrath (1943) is an undeniable masterpiece that should be required viewing. It’s bleak as hell; a kind of synthesis of Rembrandt and Nathanel Hawthorne filtered through a lens of wrenching pessimism. After viewing, you’re likely to break out in a sweat and be reduced to incoherent mumbling. If you’re brave enough to attempt a second viewing, wait twenty-five years. It’s that intense: the most somber opus in this unrelentingly somber filmmaker’s oeuvre. As in virtually all of Dreyer’s work, Day of Wrath (the title is taken from the hymn “Das Irae,” used in requiem masses) highlights … Continue reading CARL THEODORE DREYER’S DAY OF WRATH (1943)