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Orlando (film): Wikis


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Promotional poster for Orlando.
Directed by Sally Potter
Produced by Christopher Sheppard
Written by Sally Potter (script)
Virginia Woolf (novel)
Starring Tilda Swinton
Billy Zane
Lothaire Bluteau
John Wood
Charlotte Valandrey
Music by David Motion
Sally Potter
Cinematography Aleksei Rodionov
Editing by Hervé Schneid
Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics
Release date(s) 1993
Running time 93 minutes
Country  United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $5,000,000

Orlando is a 1993 film[1], based on Virginia Woolf's novel Orlando: A Biography, starring Tilda Swinton as Orlando, Billy Zane as Marmaduke Bonthrop Shelmerdine, and Quentin Crisp as Queen Elizabeth. It was directed by Sally Potter[2]. Actor Toby Stephens, son of Maggie Smith, appears as an Elizabethan actor playing the role of Othello. Gay icon Jimmy Somerville provides some of the music and appears in a cameo as an angel.

It was particularly acclaimed for its visual treatment of the settings of Woolf's 1928 novel. Potter chose to film much of the Constantinople portion of the book in the isolated city of Khiva in Uzbekistan, and made use of the forest of carved columns in the city's 18th century Juma mosque.

The film goes beyond the novel in that it brings Orlando's life into the early 1990s.

Orlando was nominated for Academy Awards for art direction and costume design. The film was also nominated for the 1994 Independent Spirit Awards' Best Foreign Film award[3].


Plot summary

The film begins in the Elizabethan Age shortly before the death of Queen Elizabeth I. On her deathbed, Elizabeth gives an androgynous young nobleman named Orlando a large tract of land and a castle built on it along with a generous monetary gift which she will only give to him with the promise "Do not fade. Do not wither. Do not grow old." Both he and his heirs will keep the land and inheritance forever. Orlando makes the promise and after her death lives in the castle for many centuries during which he pursues interests in poetry and art, although his attempts to befriend a celebrated poet backfire when the poet writes a cruel satire about him. Orlando then travels to Constantinople as British ambassador to the Turks, but is almost killed in a diplomatic intrigue. Waking up the next morning, however, he learns something even more startling: he has turned into a woman overnight.

The now 'Lady' Orlando comes home to her estate in Middle Eastern garb, only to learn that she has several impending lawsuits. The lawsuits are centrally based on the believed fact that Orlando was a woman to begin with and therefore has no right to the land or any of her/his royal inheritance.

The succeeding centuries tire her; the court case, bad luck in love and the wars of British history eventually bring her up to the 1990s with a book written and a child; having lived a most bizarre existence, yet having found a tranquil niche within it.

Selected cast

External links


  1. ^ Young, R. G., ed (2000). The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Film: Ali Baba to Zombies. New York: Applause. p. 468. ISBN 1557832692.  
  2. ^ Glaessner, Verina (1998). "Potter, Sally". in Unterburger, Amy L. (in English). Women Filmmakers & Their Films. Detroit, MI: St. James Press. pp. 336-337. ISBN 1558623574.  
  3. ^ Connors, Martin; Craddock, Jim, eds (1999). "Orlando". VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever 1999. Detroit: Visible Ink Press. p. 669. ISBN 1-57859-041-8.  

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