Orlando

Orlando

5.0 1
Director: Sally Potter

Cast: Sally Potter, Tilda Swinton, Billy Zane, Lothaire Bluteau

     
 

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Independent filmmaker Sally Potter's gender-bending epic, which views four centuries of sexual politics through the eyes of a sex-switching main character, is based on the 1928 novel by Virginia Woolf. The androgynous title character is played with delicate quietude by Tilda Swinton. The story begins during the reign of the aging Queen Elizabeth I (Quentin Crisp, in a… See more details below

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Overview

Independent filmmaker Sally Potter's gender-bending epic, which views four centuries of sexual politics through the eyes of a sex-switching main character, is based on the 1928 novel by Virginia Woolf. The androgynous title character is played with delicate quietude by Tilda Swinton. The story begins during the reign of the aging Queen Elizabeth I (Quentin Crisp, in a droll turn recalling his The Naked Civil Servant). Queen Elizabeth takes a shine to the attractive young Orlando and seeks out his sexual favors. In return, Elizabeth grants him a large estate, commanding him, "Do not fade, do not wither, do not grow old." Orlando takes the queen at her word and doesn't. When Elizabeth dies, Orlando becomes attracted to Sasha (Charlotte Valandrey), the daughter of a Russian diplomat, but she rebuffs his advances. Crushed, Orlando accepts an ambassadorship to Constantinople. After witnessing the killing of a man in battle, Orlando undergoes a change of sex, becoming a woman and returning to England, where she hobnobs with 18th-century geniuses like Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, and John Addison. Walking through a garden labyrinth, the time frame shifts to the 19th century, and Orlando falls in love with a handsome American (Billy Zane). Now in the 20th century, Orlando gives birth to his child and continues on.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Andrea LeVasseur
Orlando is a witty visual spectacle with compelling ideas and a story with many gaping holes that are open to interpretation. The source novel by Virginia Woolf, written as a love letter to Vita Sackville-West, was adapted for the screen by director Sally Potter, who also composed the musical score. With a budget of four million dollars, Potter manages to re-create 400 years of European history, complete with royal landscapes and elaborate costumes. The inspired set was the work of experimental filmmaker Peter Greenaway's production designers, Ben Van Os and Jan Roelfs. The plot is generally overshadowed by the remarkably talented Tilda Swinton portraying the character of Orlando throughout different times, places, and genders. It is never explained why or how Orlando can persevere without aging and change from a he into a she, yet Swinton's performance remains convincing. The supporting characters never develop into much, despite such clever casting as Quentin Crisp playing Queen Elizabeth I. However lacking in narrative elements, Orlando is a humorous and fascinating study of gender identity throughout history, made with an observant and critical eye on the traditions of Victorian costume dramas.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/21/2010
UPC:
0043396368132
Original Release:
1992
Rating:
PG13
Source:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
A
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
1:34:00
Sales rank:
712

Special Features

Orlando goes to Russia; Orlando in Uzbekistan; Jimmy was an angel; Venice film festival press conference; An interview with Sally Potter; Select scenes commentary with director Sally Potter; Commentary with director Sally Potter and actress Tilda Swinton

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tilda Swinton Orlando
Billy Zane Shelmerdine
Lothaire Bluteau The Khan
John Wood Archduke Harry
Charlotte Valandrey Sasha
Quentin Crisp Queen Elizabeth I
Heathcote Williams Nick Greene/Publisher
Peter Eyre Mr. Pope
Jimmy Somerville Falsetto/Angel
Dudley Sutton King James I
Simon Russell Beale Earl of Moray
John Byrne Courtier
Sarah Crowden Queen Mary
Robert Demeger 3rd Valet
John Grillo 1st Official
Roger Hammond Mr. Swift
Barbara Hicks 2nd Older Woman
Thom Hoffman King William of Orange
Kathryn Hunter Countess
Mary McLeod 1st Older Woman
Ned Sherrin Mr. Addison
Jerome Willis Translator

Technical Credits
Sally Potter Director,Score Composer,Screenwriter
Laurie Borg Producer
Michael Buchanan Art Director
Christopher Hobbs Set Decoration/Design
Michael Howells Art Director
Martine Kelly Associate Producer
Sandy Powell Costumes/Costume Designer
Alex Rodionov Cinematographer
Jan Roelfs Production Designer
Herve Schneid Editor
Ben Van Os Production Designer
Virginia Woolf Source Author

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