Cinema: End-of-the- World Blues the Sacrifice

Directed and Written by Andrei Tarkovsky

To see The Sacrifice after a junk-food diet of Hollywood movies is like ducking out of a carnival to visit a medieval crypt. You are pulled out of time and into a sacred stillness. The images, handsomely sculpted, address themes of life and death and life after death. Gods and gargoyles hover in the cramped air, dwarfing all human anxieties. Man is a mite here, pitiable in his ignorance of what matters, or else vainglorious in his quest to find the answers to riddles beyond his solving.

This is the mood in Solaris, Mirror and the other sanctuaries erected over the...