The Sacrifice

Synopsis: Alexander, a journalist and former actor and philosopher, tells his little son how worried he is about the lack of spirituality of modern mankind. In the night of his birthday, the third world war breaks out. In his despair Alexander turns himself in a prayer to God, offering him everything to have the war not happen at all.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Andrei Tarkovsky
Production: Argos Films
  Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 7 wins & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
149 min


Come here and give me a hand, my boy!

Once upon a time, long ago...

an old monk lived

in an orthodox monastery.

His name was Pamve.

And once he planted a barren tree

on a mountainside

just like this.

Then he told his young pupil,

a monk named Ioann Kolov,

that he should water the tree

each day until it came to life.

Put a few stones there, will you?

Anyway, early every morning

Ioann filled a bucket

with water and went out.

He climbed up the mountain

and watered the withered tree

and in the evening

when darkness had fallen

he returned to the monastery.

He did this for three years.

And one fine day, he climbed

up the mountain and saw

that the whole tree

was covered with blossoms!

Say what you will, but a method,

a system, has its virtues.

You know, sometimes I say to myself,

if every single day,

at exactly the same

stroke of the clock,

one were to perform

the same single act,

like a ritual,

unchanging, systematic,

every day at the same time,

the world would be changed.

Yes, something would change.

It would have to.

One could wake up

in the morning, let's say,

get up at exactly seven,

go to the bathroom,

pour a glass of water from the tap,

and flush it down the toilet.

Only that!

You can't keep me away today!

Beautiful, eh?

Like Japanese Ikebana.

I will come to your house

to wish you well

on your birthday.

I am very honoured by the invitation!

Here's the last of it.

The post office is closed.

Anyone who turns up now will just

have to wait until tomorrow. Here!

I don't have my glasses.

Please read it.









Oh, how touching!

A joke.

Friends and their jokes!

"Idiotists..." That's not half bad.

"God grant you joy..."

Say, how are your relations with God?

Non-existent, I'm afraid.

What do you mean?

It could be worse.

Here you are...

a famous journalist,

a theatrical and literary critic,

who lectures on aesthetics

for students at the university.

Hey, your lasso! Run and fetch it!

And essays...

you write them, too.

But you're so gloomy!

What's that supposed

to mean, "gloomy"?

Well, you shouldn't grieve so much.

You shouldn't yearn so for something.

You shouldn't be waiting like that.

That's important.

One shouldn't be waiting

for something.

"Shouldn't be waiting"?

Who says I'm waiting for anything?

We all are... waiting for something!

Take me, for example.

All my life, I've been going

around waiting for something.

All my life, in fact,

I've felt as if...

as if I were waiting

in a railway station.

And I've always felt as if...

as if the living I've done so far

hasn't actually been real life

but a long wait for it...

a long wait for something real,

something important!

What about you?

Yes, if that's what you mean.

I just never knew you were

interested in that kind of problem.

But I am! I most certainly am!


Sometimes I get

the most peculiar notions.

Yes, I mean it.

Like that dwarf, for example.

That notorious dwarf!

What dwarf?

Look here, you've managed

to confuse me completely!

Oh, you know who I mean!

That hunchback!

Eh? The one Nietzsche mentioned.

The one who made Zarathustra faint.

Faint? What are you talking about?

I say, do you know Nietzsche?

No, not personally.

I haven't really studied him

all that carefully.


he interests me, I can't deny it.


Sometimes I get silly things

in my head, things like...

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Andrei Tarkovsky

Andrei Arsenyevich Tarkovsky (Russian: Андре́й Арсе́ньевич Тарко́вский, IPA: [ɐnˈdrʲej ɐrˈsʲenʲjɪvʲɪtɕ tɐrˈkofskʲɪj]; 4 April 1932 – 29 December 1986) was a Russian filmmaker, writer, film editor, film theorist, theatre and opera director. Tarkovsky's films include Ivan's Childhood (1962), Andrei Rublev (1966), Solaris (1972), Mirror (1975), and Stalker (1979). He directed the first five of his seven feature films in the Soviet Union; his last two films, Nostalghia (1983) and The Sacrifice (1986), were produced in Italy and Sweden, respectively. His work is characterized by long takes, unconventional dramatic structure, distinctly authored use of cinematography, and spiritual and metaphysical themes. Tarkovsky's works Andrei Rublev, Solaris, Mirror, and Stalker are regularly listed among the greatest films of all time. His contribution to cinema was so influential that works done in a similar way are described as Tarkovskian. Ingmar Bergman said of him: Tarkovsky for me is the greatest (director), the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream. Contrarily, however, Bergman conceded the truth in the claim made by a critic who wrote that "with Autumn Sonata Bergman does Bergman", adding, "Tarkovsky began to make Tarkovsky films, and that Fellini began to make Fellini films [...] Buñuel nearly always made Buñuel films." more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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