Wednesday 18 March at 7.30pm
Sally Potter│United Kingdom│1992│94 mins│PG sexual references
Tilda Swinton strides through four centuries of history, switching genders as she goes, in Potter’s playful subversion of British Heritage cinema. “Many intellectual traditions vie for ascendancy in Sally 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 grand visual and aural pleasures, sly jokes, provocative insights, emotional truths – and romance… The film, comprising six or so major scenes, begins at the opulent court of the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth… where the male Orlando receives favour, an estate and immortality; it then 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 apparelled as a woman, and the Victorian era of property, to a 20th century postscript added by Potter. The fine, stylised performances from an idiosyncratic international cast are admirably headed by Tilda Swinton’s magnificent Orlando, who acts as the film’s complicitous eyes and ears… It’s a critical work, in 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. It’s wonderful.” — Wally Hammond, Time Out.