Tilda Swinton in Sally Potter's Orlando. Courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

Tilda Swinton in Orlando (1992), directed by Sally Potter. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.


Sally Potter’s Orlando

A rare 35mm screening of Sally Potter’s now-classic adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s pioneering novel.

Nearly thirty years after its premiere, Sally Potter’s bold re-working of Virginia Woolf’s classic 1928 novel endures as a remarkable love story and an incisive tour through English history. Orlando is the story of a journey through time and a modern exploration of gender and identity, beginning in the age of Queen Elizabeth I and ending with the speed and noise of the twentieth century. The tale follows the innocent aristocrat, Orlando, played by Tilda Swinton, who is promised a generous fortune by the Queen provided that he “not grow old.” Orlando goes on to live for centuries while mysteriously changing genders along the way. Potter’s assured direction of Swinton’s subtle performance vividly refracts the seismic historical shifts in the tale through Orlando’s fluid shifts in gender, as well as in love, war, politics, and poetry. The result is a timeless cinematic achievement that celebrates the spirit, rather than the letter, of Woolf’s book.

This rare 35mm screening is organized in partnership with the Roxie Theater in conjunction with Orlando at McEvoy Arts (February 7 – May 2, 2020), guest curated by Tilda Swinton and organized by Aperture, New York.


Sally Potter is an English filmmaker who has written and directed seven feature films as well as many shorts. She is best known for directing Orlando (1992) which won more than twenty-five international awards. Following Orlando, Potter directed the BAFTA-nominated The Tango Lesson (1996) and The Man Who Cried (2000), starring Christina Ricci, Johnny Depp, Cate Blanchett and John Turturro. She is the recipient of awards by the Berlin International Film Festival, European Film Academy Awards, Florence International Film Festival, The London Film Critic’s Circle, San Francisco International Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, and Women in Film and Television. She lives and works in London.


Runtime: 94 minutes
Country: United Kingdom, Russia, Italy, France, Netherlands
Year: 1992
Language: English, French w/ English subtitles
Director: Sally Potter
Producer: Roberto Cicutto, Jean Gontier, Luigi Musini, Christopher Sheppard, Vitaly Sobolev, Matthijs van Heijningen
Writer: Sally Potter
Editor: Hervé Schneid
Cinematographer: Alexei Rodionov
Music: David Motion, Sally Potter
Cast: Tilda Swinton, Billy Zane, Quentin Crisp
Print Source: Sony Pictures Classics