Orlando (1992)

Sally Potter directs Tilda Swinton, Billy Zane and Quentin Crisp in this rehouse fantasy where an Elizabethan lord becomes immortal, lives throughout modern history only to find at the midway point he becomes a woman.

One of those achingly sumptuous glories of arthouse cinema – where the art direction, costume and set design trump any pretentious intentions. Swinton’s performance is mesmerising and witty. She’ll often turn to the camera (à la either incarnation of House of Cards) to confide in us a self-aware commentary on events unfolding… an asssuredness that we, the even smarter viewer, can often see the irony of a tragic hubristic over confidence. Despite these strengths, this still is essentially a formal exercise. There’s a certain coldness and lack of magnanimity to it as an entertainment.

7

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