- Rated: PG-13
- Closed captioning available
- Run Time: 1 hours, 33 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: July 27, 1997
- Originally Released: 1993
- Label: Sony Pictures
Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada) Encoding
Talent and Filmographies
Packaging: Keep Case
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Memorable Quotes and Dialog:
"Same person, no difference at all. Just a different sex."
- Orlando (Tilda Swinton), after discovering that he has turned into a she.
"You are legally dead... You are a female, which amounts to much the same thing."
- Court Officer to the newly female Orlando (Tilda Swinton)
New York Times - 03/19/1993
"...This ravishing and witty spectacle invades the mind through eyes that are dazzled....[Swinton has] sweetness, gravity and intelligence..."
Premiere - 06/01/1994
"...[A] sumptuously costumed journey..." - Recommended
USA Today - 06/23/1993
"...ORLANDO straddles the genders while creating a new genre....A pace that this smashingly designed and photographed..." -- 3 out of 4 stars
Rolling Stone - 06/24/1993
"...[Swinton] is flat out amazing in a performance that is destined to become legendary..."
Film Comment - 11/01/1992
"...Sumptuous....With an adept star turn by Tilda Swinton..."
Entertainment Weekly - 07/16/1993
"...[Swinton is] a stunning found object: She looks so much like a painting of English nobility come to life that she helps root the film in a mythical historical past..."
Based on the novel by Virginia Woolf, ORLANDO follows the witty, engaging story of the incredibly long-lived aristocratic poet, Orlando (Tilda Swinton), whose gender changes in the 18th Century as he/she lives through the Elizabethan era and into the Twentieth Century. Praised for his, and later her, beauty, and tortured by love and an obsession with epic poetry that began as a teenager, Orlando learns about politics, war, sex, society, and birth as a man and again as a woman. Director Sally Potter creates a stunning, clever commentary on gender and society.
Tilda Swinton is Orlando, the melancholy, fiercely independent, and always humanistic poet whose story begins when Queen Elizabeth I--wonderfully played by Quentin Crisp--takes a shine to the beautiful boy. There are several amazing things about Orlando, not the least of which is that he is immortal, has the tendency to slip into death-like sleeps for long periods of time and, halfway through the 18th century, changes into a woman. Based on the novel by Virginia Woolf, the author's wit is deftly matched by director Sally Potter's translation of it to the screen. With spectacular sets and costumes, ORLANDO is lush to look at while retaining a charming intimacy. Spanning four centuries to the present, ORLANDO mixes history with dramatized events--such as a great freeze during the 17th century that encases England in ice--resulting in fairy-tale enchantment and witty metaphor. Potter's signature vignette style takes Orlando on journeys both locational and emotional--as a patron to a mooching poet (Heathcote Williams), an ambassador to the Middle East, and a lover of an American explorer (Billy Zane)--in which he learns about all varieties of life, society, and gender in all of their complexities.
Essential Cinema |
Social Issues |
Switching Roles |
- Director Potter provided the vocals on the score, which she co-wrote.
- Jimmy Somerville, who plays a singer in the 16th century and the 18th century, and an angel, is best known as the lead singer of the British pop groups Bronski Beat and The Comunards.
- The literary legend Quentin Crisp, who played Elizabeth I, was scandalized in real life for his penchant for androgynous dress--as was Orlando for her ambiguous sex.
- Having concentrated on raising a family at her home in Scotland, and on acting on the London stage, Tilda Swinton returned to movies to make THE BEACH (1999) with Leonardo di Caprio.
- In the narration of the film, Tilda Swinton's voice tells us, "For there can be no doubt about his sex," later changing it to "For there can be no doubt about her sex," both quotes from the novel.
- Virginia Woolfe once described her novel ORLANDO, as "an escapade, half-laughing, half-serious, with great splashes of exaggeration."
- Estimated budget of $4 million. Potter achieved such a lush look with so low a budget thanks to the poor economy in Russia, where part of Orlando was filmed.
- Shot on location in England, St. Petersburg, Russia and Uzbekistan, in Eastmancolor.
- The opening film of the 1993 New Directors/New Films series. Also shown at the 1993 Venice Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival.
- Based on Virginia Woolf's 1928 novel written for and inspired by her friend and lover Vita Sackville-West. The book not only explored gender, but was a tour of literary history as well.
- British actress Tilda Swinton is best known for her work in the films of British experimental director Derek Jarman.
- ORLANDO won more than 25 international film awards including a "Felix" for best picture, and received 2 Academy Award nominations.