In celebration of the Rio’s upcoming run of SUSPIRIA, we felt the time was nigh to toast the awe-inspiring career of the iconic actress Tilda Swinton with a screening of a film that was, for many, the introduction to her unmistakable prowess – English filmmaker Sally Potter‘s 1993 gender-bending epic, ORLANDO. Based on Virginia Woolf‘s feminist masterpiece, the romantic sci-fi fantasy novel “Orlando: A Biography,” Swinton portrays the androgynous titular character in a lush, sweeping period drama that spans four centuries of sexual politics, as viewed through the eyes of a sex-switching protagonist.
The story begins during the reign of the aging Queen Elizabeth I, who takes a shine to the attractive young Orlando, and seeks out his sexual favors. In return, Elizabeth grants him a large estate, commanding him, “Do not fade, do not wither, do not grow old.” Orlando takes the Queen at her word… And doesn’t. With Quentin Crisp, Billy Zane, Charlotte Valandrey, Jimmy Somerville.
“This adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s novel about an apparently immortal Elizabethan-era nobleman who is transformed, midway through his long life, into a woman provided the perfect early showcase for Tilda Swinton’s otherworldly charisma. A poet whose romantic spirit propels him, then her, through the centuries, Swinton’s Orlando doesn’t pass as a man in the film’s first half so much as transcend gender from beginning to end. Director Sally Potter complements the career-making performance by housing it in a peerless, creative free-for-all meditation on masculinity, femininity and time.” (Rolling Stone)
“The good news about this historical vaudeville is that Orlando’s consciousness, like his/her gender, is a delightful work-in-progress.” (Philadelphia Enquirer)
“Orlando brims with sprightly formal flourishes, looping gracefully into the film’s intellectual project while offering winking pleasures in their own right.” (Slant Magazine)
Sunday, December 2
Doors 6:15 pm | Movie 6:45 pm
Advance tickets $10.50 HERE | $12.50 at the door
*Minors permitted in the balcony! Must be 19+ w/ID for bar service and main floor seating.
**Rio Theatre Groupons and passes OK! Please redeem at the door.
ORLANDO (Sally Potter, 1992 / 93 mins / 14A) In 1600, nobleman Orlando inherits his parents’ house, thanks to Queen Elizabeth I, who commands the young man to never change. After a disastrous affair with Russian princess Sasha, Orlando looks for solace in the arts before being appointed ambassador to Constantinople in 1700, where war is raging. One morning, Orlando is shocked to wake up as a woman and returns home, struggling as a female to retain her property as the centuries roll by.