Orlando

Film, Fantasy
Orlando

There are lots of intellectual traditions vying for ascendancy in Potter's adaptation of Virginia Woolf's 1928 modernist novel, but the joy is that the film comes over simply: a beautiful historical pageant of 400 years of English history, full of visual and aural pleasures, sly jokes, thought-provoking insights, emotional truths - and romance. It begins at the opulent court of Virgin Queen Elizabeth (Crisp), where the male immortal Orlando receives favour and an estate; and thence follows his quest for love in 50-year jumps through the Civil War, the early colonial period, the effete literary salons of 1750 (by which time Orlando is a woman), the Victorian era of property, and finally a 20th century postscript added by Potter. The fine, stylised performances from an idiosyncratic international cast are admirably headed by Swinton's magnificent Orlando, who acts as the film's complicitous eyes and ears; and there's little to fault in Alexei Rodionov's cinematography, which renders the scenes with rare sensitivity. It's a critical work - in the sense that it comments wryly on such things as representations of English history, sexuality/androgyny and class - but made in the spirit of a love poem to both Woolf and the England that made us.

Release details

Duration:
93 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Sally Potter
Screenwriter:
Sally Potter
Cast:
Tilda Swinton
Billy Zane
John Wood
Lothaire Bluteau
Charlotte Valandrey
Heathcote Williams
Quentin Crisp
Dudley Sutton

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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tastemaker

A surprisingly quirky (verging on fantasy) film about a young man and what turns out to be his fluid sexuality. A fascinating film based on Virginia Woolf’s book of the same name. Tilda Swinton plays the lead role and fits the character perfectly with her striking looks. The film was first released in the early 90s but to watch it you would have no idea - it is full of fun and will have you laughing, particularly when Orlando often addresses his audience in monologue of only a couple of words. This is an extremely fun film to watch and couldn’t be more topical to watch in 2018 - highly recommended!