Orlando (1992)

Orlando is a movie by Sally Potter based on Virginia Woolf‘s book of the same name, starring Tilda Swinton, Quentin Crisp and Billy Zane.

Orlando (Virginia Woolf) is a young man during the reign of Elizabeth I (Quentin Crisp). When he vows never to grow old, he doesn’t. The movie follows his life and affairs, first with the Queen, then with the Russian Princess Sasha (Charlotte Valandrey). After Sasha returns to Russia, Orlando leads his life pretty love-less and soon ennui sets in. Then one night, he falls asleep and can not be woken for quite a period of time. Finally he wakes up and finds himself metamorphosed into a woman’s body. And that’s when his trouble really starts.

I admit that I have never read anything by Virginia Woolf, so I can’t compare the movie and the book (yet, at least). But I really enjoyed the movie. It was funny, interesting and beautifully shot. And it has really awesome costumes and a great set design.

The movie is a little strange but with that topic, how could it be different? [And I’m pretty sure that the book is, too.] But in any case, it’s a good kind of strange. What can I say, I like magical realism.

The cast was really good, even Billy Zane (and I do not say this lightly). But of course, the movie focusses on Tilda Swinton, and rightly so. She shines as if the role (and by extension, the book) was written for her.

But probably the best thing about it were the luscious costumes and the sweeping set design. It’s playful, beautiful and really colourful. Very awesome.

Sally Potter does a good job directing it, though the pieces sometimes seem to be a little non-sequitur and more randomly jumbled together. But that never takes away from the enjoyment of the movie.

Summarising: instant classic and utterly rewatchable.


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