Tarkovsky’s Sacrifice: Between Nietzsche and Christ

  • Author(s): Frank Bosman
  • When: 2014-11
  • Where: The Actuality of Sacrifice: Past and Present
  • Tarkovsky's last film. The Sacrifice (original Swedish title Offret, was released real in 1986 under the auspices of the Swedish Film Institute and produced by Anna-Lena Wibom. In his diaries, Tarkovsky mentions that he originally made contact with Wibom for a short film The Witch. This story revolves around a terminally ill man suffering from cancer who is instructed by a soothsayer to spend the night with a 'witch'. The man is mysteriously cured and lives happily ever after. The autobiographical element cannot be overlooked. For the director, this original story was both a 'parable about sacrifice' and 'a spiritual regeneration expressed in the image of a woman'. While shooting Nostalghia, the apocalyptic element was added and expanded. The director was diagnosed with incurable cancer after the film was shot, but before the final edit was completed. The film also has features of a testament or 'last wil'. This impression is affirmed by the director's dedication of the work to his young son with 'hope and confidence'. With a running time of more than two hours, The Sacrifice resists any quick and easy description of its plot. What follows below is the most detailed description of the plot I have found, without leaving out vital pans or symbols. The author is Gino Ittolitemo.

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