Orlando 1992 ***

Orlando (Tilda Swinton) in the film Orlando Scene 4 Photo by Liam Longman © Adventure Pictures Ltd


Sally Potter is one of Britain’s most original and underrated film-makers, her adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando is a gender-bending spectacle that’s crammed full of sociological wit and wisdom. With a time span of over 400 years, Orlando (Tilda Swinton) never ages from the 16th century to the modern day, changing sex from male to female in the process. The casting of Quentin Crisp and Queen Elizabeth I adds to the studied eccentricity; goodness knows what Billy Zane thought he was making, but he’s actually quite good as a paramour. The influence of Derek Jarman is obvious, but Potter’s hard-to-find film is worth seeking out for students of literature, poetry and sexual politics alike.


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