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!
9.5/10. Sally Potter translates Woolf's novel into a brisk absurdist comedy. There doesn't feel like much of a logical connection between events, but the nonsensical leaps through time play well with the surprisingly funny scenes. The production design is simply gorgeous and Tilda Swinton's androgynous beauty is mesmerizing.
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.
Now this is timeless! I can't believe I missed a precious gem all these years. Based from Virginia Woolf's novel of the same title. Tilda Swinton plays both genders on this revolutionary take on life and the sexes, and she's amazing! What a remarkable piece of cinema. I found myself in awe, marveling, and laughing at the same time. My treasure box is never full, and this is definitely in my collection.
Sumptuous androgynous delightfulness. Walks that knife-edge because beauty and grotesque walked by Peter Greenaway with 'Prospero's Books', but with a great deal more humanity and warmth. Woolf's sentences cannot really be translated to images, but Orlando stands on its own as a quietly fierce and touching work of art. I suspect it must have provided salvation to some (as 'Sanshō Dayū' does for me).
***1/2 Pretty and arch are double-edged swords; those attributes sometimes enthrall and sometimes obstruct. I couldn't agree more with the sex-and-gender theses Potter projects onto the novel, but they're stated rather than explored more often than I found effective, and the riveting/transporting pure-modernist opacity of Woolf's prose becomes an awkward hybrid of modernist rigor and postmodernist noodling.