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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Le Sacrifice" or "The Sacrifice" or "The Witch")

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/tarkovsky.htm
Sweden 1986

In The Sacrifice, Alexander's (Erland Josephson) birthday party is interrupted by news that World War III has begun and mankind is hours away from annihilation. To avoid war, Alexander promises to God that he'll sacrifice all he has -- even his son.

***

Sixtyish philosopher Alexander (Erland Josephson) lives in a beautiful house on an island off Sweden’s Baltic coast, with English wife Adelaide (Susan Fleetwood), teenage daughter Julia (Valerie Maitesse) and young son, known only as Gossen, or “Little Man” (Tommy Kjellvqist). It’s Alexander’s birthday, and he’s visited by eccentric bicycling postman Otto (Allan Erdawll) and smug doctor Viktor (Sven Wollter), who is “carrying on” with Adelaide. Out of the blue, a nuclear war is announced on TV - the telephones and electricity are cut off, and the air is filled with the deafening roar of passing jets. All looks bleak - but then Alexander fervently prays, asking God to avert the impending apocalypse, in return offering to turn his back on his home and family, and take a vow of silence. Next morning, he wakes to find that, somehow, the threat of annihilation has been lifted - and now it’s up to him to keep his side of the bargain...

The Sacrifice is like a compendium of all the ideas (faith, role of artist, power of nature, virtue of childhood) and images (love as levitation, a boy standing by a tree) from his previous six films. As usual, there’s a baffling rush of philosophical debate, stitched together with some of the most astonishing shots in all cinema. Watching this long film is an intermittently dazzling experience, but also somewhat unsatisfying. Just how much of what we’re watching is real, and how much is Alexander’s hallucination - we’re given clues along the way, such a bicycle being parked in a certain way, only to reappear in a slightly different place later on - is open to question. In Tarkovsky’s films, dreams are nothing if not cinematic. But piecing together the director’s “intention” seems to be missing the point.

Excerpt from Neil Young's review at the Jigsaw Lounge located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 9th, 1986 - Sweden

Reviews                                                                             More Reviews                                                                         DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Enter One - Region 3 - NTSC vs. Swedish Film Institute - Region 2 - PAL vs. IMAGICA (Japan) - Region 2- NTSC vs. Kino - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Artificial Eye (2 disc) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

Big thanks to Andrey Diment for the Region 2 - PAL screen captures! 

  Thanks to Kimitoshi Sato for the Region 2 - NTSC screen captures.

         Swedish and Supplemental framegrabs by Trond Trondsen

 

1) Enter One - Region 3- NTSC TOP LEFT

2) Swedish Film Institute - Region 2- PAL TOP MIDDLE

3) Imagica - region 2- NTSC- TOP RIGHT

4) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM LEFT

5) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM SECOND

6) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM THIRD

7) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 

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Distribution

Enter One (Korea)

Region 3 - NTSC

Swedish Film Institute
Region 2 - PAL

Imagica (Japan)

Region 2 - NTSC

Box Covers

Distribution

Kino Home Video

Region 0  - NTSC

Artificial Eye Film Company
Region 2 - PAL

Kino Home Video

Region FREE  - Blu-ray

Artificial Eye (UK)

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

  Enter One DVD SFI DVD Imagica DVD Kino DVD Artificial Eye DVD
Runtime 2:22:20 2:22:25 (4% PAL speedup) approx. 2:29:00 2:22:35 2:22:30 (4% PAL speedup)
Video 1.65:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.71 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.61:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.44
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.63:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: ? mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.63:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.21 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.61:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.36
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Kino Blu-ray Artificial Eye Blu-ray
2:28:53.913 2:29:02.583

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 35,742,065,699 bytes

Feature: 35,702,009,856 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 28.17 Mbps

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,331,224,888 bytes

Feature: 45,041,958,912 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

 

 

 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Enter One

 

Bitrate:

SFI

 

  

Bitrate:

Kino

 

Bitrate:

Artificial Eye

 

Bitrate: Kino

Blu-ray

 

Bitrate: Artificial Eye

Blu-ray

 

 

 

 

  Enter One SFI Imagica Kino Artificial Eye
Audio Swedish (Mono 2.0) Swedish (Mono 2.0) Swedish (Mono 2.0) Swedish (Mono 2.0)

Swedish (Mono 2.0)

Subtitles English, Korean and none English, Swedish and none Japanese (removable) Yellow English, (non-removable) English, and none

Features

Release Information:
Studio:
Enter One

 

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen  - 1.65:1

 

Edition Details:
•20-page liner notes booklet with photos (text in Korean)

 

DVD Release Date: August 5th, 2005
Transparent Keep Case

Chapters 12

 

Release Information:
Studio: Swedish Film Institute

 

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen  - 1.63:1

 

Edition Details:
• Slideshow, Memories of Tarkovskij, is narrated by Adam Stone

• 'Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky' documentary

• Filmographies
 

DVD Release Date: January 30th, 2004
Keep Case

Chapters 18

 

Release Information:
Studio: Imagica

 

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen  - 1.63:1

 

Edition Details:
• It contains music, poster and trailer sections.
Note on St Matthew Passion
translation of Erbarme in Japanese
Poster section includes three items.

Two critics wrote liner notes for the disk, one made detailed biographies for main personages.
the other on music.

DVD Release Date: March 25th, 2002
Keep Case

Chapters 16

 

Release Information:
Studio: Kino Home Video

 

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen  - 1.63:1

 

Edition Details:
•Double Feature: The Sacrifice (Letterboxed 1.66:1, 145 min.) and the documentary Directed By Andrei Tarkovsky (Full Frame, 101 min.) - 11 Chapters

 

DVD Release Date: March 7th, 2000
Keep Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye Film Company

 

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.61:1

Edition Details:
Disk 1:
• Main feature (16:9, cover incorrectly states '4:3 letterbox') - 2.22.37

Disk 2:
• 'Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky' documentary (15 chapters, fixed English subtitles where required) (4:3 fullscreen) -1.37.23
• Image Gallery
• Production Notes
• Filmographies

DVD Release Date: 28 October, 2002
Transparent Keep Case

Chapters 16

Kino Blu-ray Artificial Eye Blu-ray
LPCM Audio Swedish 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

LPCM Audio Swedish 768 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit
Commentary:

LPCM Audio English 768 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit

English, and none English, and none

Release Information:
Studio: Kino Home Video

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 35,742,065,699 bytes

Feature: 35,702,009,856 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 28.17 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
•Double Feature: The Sacrifice in 1080P and a separate DVD with the documentary Directed By Andrei Tarkovsky (Full Frame, 137:24 / 5.22 Mbps - Region FREE) - 12 Chapters

 

Blu-ray Release Date: July 5th, 2011
Standard Blu-ray  Case inside cardboard slipcase

Chapters 18

Release Information:
Studio:
Artificial Eye

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,331,224,888 bytes

Feature: 45,041,958,912 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• Commentary by Layla Alexander-Garrett

Blu-ray 2

• Mary Wild Introduction (2:35)

• Film Psychoanalyst Mary Wild visual essay (12:29 - Part 7 - The Sacrifice - Disharmony and the Ideal)
•  Poetic Harmony (15:00)

36 page booklet

 

Blu-ray Release Date: October 3rd, 2016
Standard Blu-ray  Case inside cardboard slipcase

Chapters 18

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Artificial Eye - Region 'B' Blu-ray - September 2016: Curzon / Artificial Eye provide another two-Blu-ray package for one of their new Tarkovsky film-to-1080P release - one disc for the feature a second for the extras. The Sacrifice could be from The Swedish Film Institute source(?!) although does not resemble that 2004 DVD's color scheme - nor the Kino Blu-ray.

Having already produced Blu-rays of Nostalghia (1983), Stalker (1979), Zerkalo (The Mirror) (1975,) Solaris (1972,) Andrei Rublev (1969,) and Ivan's Childhood - this represents all of the features. The general consensus so far has been middling - some are appreciative of the transfers of Zerkalo (The Mirror), Solaris, and Andrei Rublev (1969,) and others have been disappointed by ex. Stalker . As Tarkovsky was such a visual filmmaker - demands for the highest quality visuals are often very stringent. It would be an impossible task to please everyone.

Sebastian tells us in email "Hi. I read your review about The Sacrifice (Offret) and wanted to give you some information about the current state for masters.
In the late 90s the film was transferred in order to make a new master for 35mm distribution and home video. It hit VHS in Sweden in 1999 but wasn't on DVD until 2004, which is the SFI DVD.

In 2012, SFI began their digitizing project with a goal of restoring at least 100 films per year since many Swedish films have been treated very badly on home video. Offret was their first attempt based on the high demand of the film and although the final master was most likely a 2K DI, it was probably the last film by SFI to get a 35mm print. It was shown on Cinemateket in Stockholm in October of 2013 as a part of their 50 year anniversary.

Barely one and a half-year earlier, the 90s master was shown on 35mm there as well as a part of the Erland Josephson memorial. I attended at both and they are very similar in appearance though I will say that the 2012 restoration has a calmer, more filmic look. Both of them works but I'm glad that we've gotten the later master for Blu-Ray.

Should also be noted that according to the Swedish translation of Martyrolog, Tarkovsky points out in the very last sentence of his diaries that the negative was so cut that it was practically useless. If this is the case I'd guess that both masters are based on the IP considering how well archived most films are at SFI." (Thanks Sebastian!)

Michael Brooke on our FB page says "I saw the film several times in 35mm in the late 1980s, and the Artificial Eye colours look closest to what I remember. (Mind you, they were the UK distributors back then as well...). The Kino looks too bright, and too greenish - the sky in the opening shot simply looks wrong to me, as I remember there being a much greater distinction between blue sky and green grass."

Trying to remain objective in analyzing this HD video transfer - the Artificial Eye image most resembles the Japanese Imagica SD in terms of color and contrast. It is dark and frequently looks very green. The UK 1080P shows the most information in the frame. Flesh tones are very cool (same as Nostalghia.) It doesn't have the egregious edge-enhancement that the Kino Blu-ray shows. The AE is quite grainy and also shows some noise, I think.  It looks solid in-motion and I enjoyed my viewing - if only for the different digital interpretation. Some may lean to the Kino color scheme - but may also be deterred by the thinness and EE.

Tarkovsky's selection of music includes J.S. Bach - Matthäus-Passion: Erbarme Dich sung beautifully by Julia Hamari as well as performances by Watazumido-Shuso (Hotchiku flöjt). Artificial Eye's linear PCM is less robust than the Kino (and 16-bit as opposed to 24) but the audio still sounds impressive if less rich and deep. There are optional English subtitles on AE's region 'B'-locked Blu-ray.

Artificial Eye add a new Commentary by Layla Alexander-Garrett author of Andrei Tarkovsky: The Collector of Dreams and Andrei Tarkovsky: a Photographic Chronicle of the Making of the Sacrifice. She graduated in Film Studies from Stockholm University and worked as an interpreter on The Sacrifice giving her invaluable insight into the production. She also arranges Andrei Tarkovsky and Sergei Paradjanov festival retrospectives in London. On the second Blu-ray AE again include the brief Film Psychoanalyst Mary Wild Introduction and part 7 of her visual essays - this one entitled The Sacrifice - Disharmony and the Ideal - running over a dozen minutes. There is another visual essay (some may have seen on YouTube) by Lewis Bond - Andrei Tarkovsky's Poetic Harmony - often in the director's own words. In it Tarkovsky denies drawing any inspiration from similarly respected filmmakers — Bresson, Antonioni, Bergman, Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, “I have no desire to imitate any of them” and is very well-made - it runs 15-minutes. Although I don't have it yet, I presume this set to include another 36 page liner notes booklet.

I'll say it again - it is good to have options. I have no idea which image transfer is most accurate to the theatrical film The Sacrifice. I do, greatly, appreciate the AE Blu-ray supplements - commentary etc.  Another Tarkovsky masterpiece.

***

ADDITION: Region FREE - Blu-ray - June 11': I must say this is very impressive. In comparison to all the SD-DVD versions this new Kino, dual-layered, 1080P transfer is a revelation. It is soft-palette, extremely more detailed and even showcases some depth. Tarkovsky fans may swoon at the image quality. I won't say the hi-def representation is perfect - there are some, previously unnoticed hues (pink instead of white etc.), flesh tones can, at times, be warmer but other contrast is superior and I expect that this is accurate (or rather, more accurate than even the SFI DVD.)  Unfortunately, there are edge enhancement halos and may be part of the print used!

 

 

Audio is given the lossless treatment but stays original with a 2.0 channel linear PCM track at 2304 kbps. The soundtrack with Bach's "Matthäus-Passion: Erbarme Dich" and Watazumido-Shuso performed music is crisp, lilting and sounds wonderfully clean. Dialogue has moments where I felt sync may have been off but if my memory is correct this was similar to the DVDs. There are optional English subtitles and disc is a Region FREE Blu-ray.

No extras on the feature disc but there is an included single-layered DVD with the 1 1/2 hour 'Directed By Andrei Tarkovsky' (as as an extra on the 2000 KIno DVD and 2004 Swedish Film Institute disc.) The included DVD has trailers and 2 galleries, of source, in SD.

I was out to dinner once with a friend who was choosing a bottle of wine that was too early to be enjoyed. The waiter, who was one of the owners, knew this, but simply stated "How can we resist?" in a charming French accent while sporting a broad smile. I'm sure many serious cinema devotees will feel this way about Kino's Blu-ray of Tarkovsky's last film, The Sacrifice. This is despite the edge-enhancement - if you arte sensitive to it - then you will be distracted.

***

ADDITION: (ENTER ONE - Region 3- NTSC) - October 05' - This Enter One transfer is quite good, excepting that it is not progressive and is most likely from a PAL source. It has a bit of a greenish haze, but its seems as sharp as the SFI edition. The subtitles are weak, but not fatally so - only a few instances of incorrect spelling or grammar (see below). Nothing really changes in our voting but I am not as disappointed with the Enter One as I was expecting to be, although the audio is weak not quite as flawed as in the ENTER ONE Nostalghia.

NOTE: Please excuse that this is an older comparison and some of the captures are not exact frames. It still should be fairly obvious as to the caliber of each image's release.

***

ADDITION (SFI Region 2- PAL ) - February 2004
It's great to see a new and superior transfer come along. The Swedish Film Institutes sharpness is easily the best, but where they really shine is in the contrast department. This is the first time this film has looked this theatrically accurate on DVD. I see no apparent digital manipulation, saturation or contrast boosting that is evident on all the other releases. It seems to have no significant cropping either. The Extras include the "Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky" documentary as well as a slideshow entitled "Memories of Tarkovskij". This is our choice as the definitive version on DVD at present. None of the other three releases are acceptable. The best one of the poorer lot is in my opinion the Japanese Cinefil/Imagica release, with its faithful representation of color and contrast. (See this Nostalghia.com article for a more complete discussion.)

Gary Tooze

Kino version is video sourced, that is easily spotted. There are numerous instances of analogue chroma noise: look at the tree-top on capture #1, or the table-cloth on capture #4 (to the right of the question mark), or the table-cloth on the last capture, under the back of the chair.

Andrey Diment

What Gary has said above is correct; the SFI release is the one to own. There is one big problem with the Japanese disc: it is Letterboxed.  Some will also regret the fact that it does not come with English subtitles.  Some Scandinavians among us appreciate the fact that the Japanese subtitles can be turned off, as the English subtitles on the other NTSC release (Kino) are ingrained.  The Kino release is Letterboxed as well, and suffers from the same brightness/contrast problems that mar the Artificial Eye release.  The Artificial Eye disc is the only anamorphic presentation of the film currently available on DVD.  Its video encoding is however seriously flawed, resulting in a blurry image. Compare for example the caption beneath the icon painting of Saint Paraskeva Pjatnitsa shown below.  Neither caption is actually readable, of course, but the Artificial Eye version at the bottom is clearly rendered more blurry than the Kino version immediately above.  The Nostalghia.com article referenced above goes into more detail on this issue.

Trond Trondsen of Masters of Cinema.org.


 DVD Menus

(Enter One - Region 3- NTSC LEFT vs. Swedish Film Institute - Region 2- PAL MIDDLE vs. Imagica - region 2- NTSC- RIGHT )  


   

 

(Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)

 

 

 

Kino Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

Included Single-layered DVD in Blu-ray package

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Second Blu-ray

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Samples

.

1) Enter One - Region 3- NTSC TOP

2) Swedish Film Institute - Region 2- PAL SECOND

3) Kino Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Enter One - Region 3- NTSC TOP

2) Swedish Film Institute - Region 2- PAL SECOND

3) Imagica - region 2- NTSC- THIRD

4) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - FIFTH

6) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray SIXTH

7) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM


 

 

TV transmission sample from NHK BS broadcast of the date:10PM, August  20, 1993.

It was aired as a part of "Kurosawa Selection: 100 movies I love."
It came in 8th.

Note cropping on either side.

 


1) Enter One - Region 3- NTSC TOP

2) Swedish Film Institute - Region 2- PAL SECOND

3) Imagica - region 2- NTSC- THIRD

4) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - FIFTH

6) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray SIXTH

7) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

TV transmission sample

 


 

1) Enter One - Region 3- NTSC TOP

2) Swedish Film Institute - Region 2- PAL SECOND

3) Imagica - region 2- NTSC- THIRD

4) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - FIFTH

6) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray SIXTH

7) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

TV transmission sample

 

 


1) Enter One - Region 3- NTSC TOP

2) Swedish Film Institute - Region 2- PAL SECOND

3) Imagica - region 2- NTSC- THIRD

4) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - FIFTH

6) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray SIXTH

7) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

TV transmission sample

 


 

1) Enter One - Region 3- NTSC TOP

2) Swedish Film Institute - Region 2- PAL SECOND

3) Imagica - region 2- NTSC- THIRD

4) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - FIFTH

6) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray SIXTH

7) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

TV transmission sample

 

 


1) Enter One - Region 3- NTSC TOP

2) Swedish Film Institute - Region 2- PAL SECOND

3) Imagica - region 2- NTSC- THIRD

4) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - FIFTH

6) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray SIXTH

7) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

1) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-rays ?

Sound:

Kino Blu-ray

Extras:

AE  Blu-ray

 

DVD Box Covers

 

Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...

Distribution

Enter One (Korea)

Region 3 - NTSC

Swedish Film Institute
Region 2 - PAL

Imagica (Japan)

Region 2 - NTSC

Box Covers

Distribution

Kino Home Video

Region 0  - NTSC

Artificial Eye Film Company
Region 2 - PAL

Kino Home Video

Region FREE  - Blu-ray

Artificial Eye (UK)

Region 'B' - Blu-ray




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gary Tooze

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