This Swedish film by the Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky won the special Grand Jury Prize at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival. Erland Josephson plays Alexander, a professor and former actor who lives in the Swedish countryside with his British wife, daughter, and six-year-old son. As they celebrate his birthday with visitors — including a doctor and an eccentric postman — Alexander comes to a decision about his life and the sacrifices which must be made to give meaning to his world. Tarkovsky has called the film "a poetic parable." Cinematographer Sven Nykvist fashions images which have the fluidity and emotional clout of a dream: the planting of a tree, a walk with a young boy, the giving of a gift, the sharing of secrets, a descent into fear, the healing of a woman, the cleansing power of fire, and the simple beauty of nature. True film devotees will appreciate the mystery and the spiritual allusiveness of The Sacrifice.