In Russian master Andrei Tarkovsky’s last film ‘The Sacrifice’ (1986), the protagonist, Alexander, who is vacationing in an island somewhere in Denmark, with his family, suddenly realises that the world is going to end in a nuclear explosion, soon. To save the world from this ultimate doom, Alexander decides to make the ultimate sacrifice, himself and his family in exchange for the world. “I’ll give Thee all I have, I’ll give up my family, whom I love, I’ll destroy my home and give up Little Man (his young son),” Alexander prays to God, in exchange for the safety of the world.
Whether Alexander’s prayers are answered or not is a climax of the film, and if you know your cinema, you may have seen this indelible image of the house burning, one of the iconic scenes ever committed to cinema.
Here is an incredible remark on gift and sacrifice...
One day, the local postmaster, Otto, brings home a large frame of a map of undivided Europe. It’s an original, says the postmaster, and a gift.
“How beautiful it is! We must take it inside. Come, now!” says Alexander’s wife.
“But it's far too dear a gift. I don't know if I...” says Alexander.
“Oh, God, don't say that!” says Otto.
“But it's far too much! Too much, Otto! I know it's no sacrifice, but...”
“And why shouldn't it be? Of course it's a sacrifice!” says Otto. “Every gift involves a sacrifice. If not, what kind of gift would it be?”
Every gift involves a sacrifice. If not, what kind of gift would it be?