Sexy, witty and provocative, Potter’s adaptation of Orlando turned Virginia Woolf’s most spirited novel, called ‘the longest love letter in English literature’, into a reinvention of heritage cinema that dazzled audiences and critics from the Venice Film Festival to Rolling Stone.
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Etherial and fantastic, this Orlando is built on fairy-tale ground - everything is beautifully put together so you don't ever fall from its web. It catches you by the imagery - and oh-how Tilda belongs here. Like dozens and dozens of pictures - Potter does art work, framing reality as make believe. Congratulations, my eyes are pleased.
Potter's suitably irreverent masque is a thoroughly decent attempt to film a tricky novel capturing its less than cinematic themes of transcendentalism and immortality, together with the easier - and now drearily contemporary - topic of identity (the film is no doubt due a pert revival on that score alone). Swinton's gamine androgyny is put to early good use.
A singular film that should fascinate anyone interested in the construction of identity, in both a "real" and cinematic sense. Some parts of the film are inadvertently hilarious (i.e. Billy Zane trotting in on the horse).
Despite its interesting aesthetic and the impressive Tilda's performance, this film is not equally remarkable as the astonishing Virginia's novel. But I must say, it is truly a pity as it could have ended as an astoundingly beautiful perception of the novel.
Aside from the amazing acting, screenplay, story, directing, cinematography and costumes, the style, score and editing made this highly enjoyable. Very different from my first screening. Now it has much more depth. The theme and messages it conveys makes this one of my favorite films.
First half channels Woolf's glib, surreal austerity. 'Orlando' is top-5-novels material for me, so I was inevitably disappointed with the lack of ceremony in the transformation scene. In the novel, Orlando goes into a cocoon surrounded by cherubs & witches, emerging a woman. That's so tight! Why Potter chose to undercut this I'll never know. Anyway great cinematography, Swinton rules etc. Go read the book!