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Orlando

Year: 1992
Director: Sally Potter
Writer: Sally Potter
Cast: Tilda Swinton, Billy Zane
More visual poetry than motion picture story. It tells of a 15th century British nobleman, Orlando (Swinton) who lives for poetry and escaping the isolation of middle ages nobility. Favoured by the Queen, he is told never to grow old, wither or die. Whether that puts some sort of spell on him or not is never explained, and in what is essentially a fantasy movie, it doesn't matter.

Travelling to the Middle East as an ambassador to the throne, he suddenly (and for no real reason) changes into a woman, and adventures from Elizabethan England to the modern day teach Orlando ultimately to let go of the past (of which she/he's lived through four centuries).

It could be showcasing a point, such as themes of men and women understanding each other, love, or the poetic stanza-like chapters of the story being the things that matter no matter what the period of history. But none of that seems to matter in the face of showing a sweeping fairy tale.

Where Orlando triumphs is in its sumptuous and sensual sense of story, in everything from the long, considered pauses of thought to the incredible costume and set design.

In her medieval incantations, Swinton is starkly beautiful like a China doll, and supporting cast members flit in and out the story seemingly without consequence in most cases.

Not a film to watch if you're after a straight laced story, but a vision to be touched, smelt, drunk in and felt in your heart.

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