Saturday, 16 April 2011


Orlando falls for the  Princess.
Orlando (1992) stars the perfectly cast Tilda Swinton and is the story of a journey through time, of someone who lives for four hundred years, first as a man, then as a woman. As a young nobleman, Orlando is given land, property and money by Queen Elizabeth I (Quentin Crisp) if he agrees to the Queens command “ Do not fade. Do not wither. Do not grow old”. After the monarch death, he falls passionately in love with the visiting Russian Princess Sasha (Charlotte Valandrey) on the glittering ice of the frozen river Thames. The princess leaves Orlando, however, and, after a disastrous brush with poetry, he takes up his "manly" destiny as an Ambassador in the deserts of central Asia. There, in the midst of war, unwilling to kill or be killed, he changes sex. As a woman, Orlando returns to the formal salons of 18th century London, where she faces a choice: marry and have heirs or lose everything as she faces several impending lawsuits arguing that Orlando was a woman to begin with and therefore has no right to the land or any of her/his royal inheritance Finally, this androgynous being having lived a most bizarre existence emerges into a twentieth century as an ordinary individual with a child and having written a book now finds some tranquility.

Directed and adapted by Sally Potter from Virginia Woolf’s 1928 semi biographical novel Orlando: A Biography, based in part on the life of Woolf’s lover Vita Sackville-West the English author and poet.

An unqualified delight, a movie not to be missed, believe me this rather unique fantasy is not your standard costume drama and has been described as a “gender-bending epic”! It had the distinction of introducing both Tilda Swinton and Sally Potter to a wider cinema audience.

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