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The Sacrifice

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Alexander sits under the tree with his son.

Alexander sits under the tree with his son.

Courtesy of Sandrew Metronome

Courtesy of Sandrew Metronome

Alexander sits under the tree with his son.

The lights dimmed, a signal for everyone in the auditorium to quiet down and prepare for a unique experience.

 

The 1986 Swedish film, “The Sacrifice,” opens  with Alexander (played by Erland Josephson) celebrating his birthday with his friends and family.

 

In the beginning, the setting is aesthetically pleasing indeed. Alexander and his son (played by Tommy Kjellqvist) prop up a tree right at the edge of the water, and Alexander speaks endlessly to his son about how the tree must be watered and taken care of in a beautiful scene, almost like a lush oil painting.

 

As everyone is busy around the house, a radio announcement lets the Swedish people know that WWIII has begun. Alexander knows the end of the world is coming, and despite atheist comments he made at the beginning of the film while speaking to his friend Otto, Alexander recites a prayer and asks for world peace. In return, he is willing to sacrifice his personal happiness his family, friends, and everything in between.  He even vows never to speak again.

 

As soon as this is done, the man dozes off… at least it seems as if he dozed off, the film shows scenes of its characters committing odd acts in even odder settings.

 

I’d tell you, but I don’t want to give too much away.

 

“The Sacrifice” is the latest film to be shown by the Northwest Chicago Film Society. The NWCFS “exists to promote the preservation of film in context,” according to the program. The society believes that watching a film in a theater, with an audience on a film projector, the way it was intended to be seen, makes the experience unforgettable and helps the audience to understand the history and the culture of the time.

 

Founded in 2011, the NWCFS celebrated its fifth anniversary this January and always shows rare and unusual films that usually can’t be seen anywhere else. Movies are shown on the original 35mm or 16mm film and come from restoration archives, studios and private collectors.

 

One of the most unique films they’ve shown was seen this last Halloween titled “Witchcraft Through the Ages.”

 

“Ages” is a 1968 recut English version of “Häxan,” a Danish silent film from 1922 that the NWCFS describes only as “unclassifiable” and “utterly unique.”

 

June will mark the first anniversary of the society’s residence at NEIU.

 

Director Andrei Tarkovskij made sure his film would linger in the mind. Although very long, it will keep its viewers’ attention. It’s a must-watch!

 

General Admission tickets are $5, but NEIU student tickets with an ID are $2. Screenings are held at 7:30pm on Wednesdays.

 

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