50 Years of SIFF: Orlando


United Kingdom | 1992 | 94 min. | Sally Potter

March 2 - 10, 2024

50 Years of SIFF

After Queen Elizabeth I commands him not to grow old, a young nobleman struggles with love and his place in the world. ANDY SPLETZER CHOICE.

Seattle International Film Festival 1993 selection.

British filmmaker Sally Potter has created a masterful screen adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s epic satirical novel exploring gender roles and sexual identity over the last several centuries. Tilda Swinton gives a star-making performance as the delicately handsome nobleman Orlando, who is commanded by Queen Elizabeth in the year 1600 never to grow old. Astonishingly, he obeys and lives on for 400 years, both as a man, then as a woman. 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 Virginia 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.

  • Director: Sally Potter
  • Principal Cast: Tilda Swinton, Quentin Crisp, John Bott, Elaine Banham
  • Country: United Kingdom, Russia, Italy, France, Netherlands
  • Year: 1992
  • Running Time: 94 min.
  • Producer: Christopher Sheppard
  • Screenplay: Sally Potter
  • Cinematographers: Alexey Rodionov, Andrew Speler
  • Editors: Hervé Schneid
  • Music: David Motion, Sally Potter
  • Filmography: The Gold Diggers (1983), The London Story (1987), The Tango Lesson (1997), The Man Who Cried (2000), Yes (2004), Rage (2009), Ginger & Rosa (2012), The Party (2017), The Roads Not Taken (2020)
  • Language: English, French

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