When we first played Orlando in 1992, it left audiences breathless due to the fantastic performance of a then unknown young actress named Tilda Swinton.
ORLANDO is a bold, unsentimental re-working of Virgina Woolfs classic novel in which an innocent aristocrat journeys through 400 years of English history - first as a man, then as a woman. As a young nobleman, Orlando is granted favors and property by Queen Elizabeth I. After her death, he falls passionately in love with a visiting Russian princess on the glittering ice of the frozen river Thames. The princess leaves Orlando, however, and, after a disastrous brush with poetry, he takes up his "manly" destiny as an Ambassador in the deserts of central Asia. There, in the midst of war, unwilling to kill or be killed, he changes sex. As a woman, Orlando returns to the formal salons of 18th century London, where she faces a choice: marry and have heirs or lose everything. In this age of wildness and repression, she meets the man of her dreams, but chooses to forsake both love and her inheritance. Finally, Orlando emerges into a twentieth century filled with speed and noise as an ordinary individual, who, in losing everything, has found herself.
ORLANDO is a story of the quest for love, and it is also an ironic dance through English history. Addressing contemporary concerns about gender and identity, the film is remarkably true to the spirit of Virgina Woolf, but it also skilfully adapts the original story to give it a striking, cinematic form. The screenplay is a standard text taught in film schools as a radical and successful adaptation of a classic work.
Featuring Tilda Swinton, Billy Zane, Simon Russell Beale, Quentin Crisp. Directed by Sally Potter.
3 day rental • PG-13 • 93 min.
“Tilda Swinton's performance as Orlando in this adaptation of Virginia Woolf's novel is luminous and thrilling, an omnisexual romp through 400 years of history.”
— Times (UK)
“The film's wit and layered sense of history seem richer than ever.”
— News day
“This ravishing and witty spectacle invades the mind through eyes that are dazzled without ever being anesthetized.”
— New York Times