Aug 31, 2012

Review: Begotten - 1991




Begotten
Director: E. Elias Merhige
1991
Art House

God commits suicide and there’s born a woman from His body – Mother Earth. This woman then gives birth to a son which is dragged through the landscapes with a rope around his neck. Faceless and cannibalistic creatures torment his in various ways.

I’ll admit that the above synopsis is very sparse, but that’s more or less what it’s all about. And it’s not very clear at all. If the possibility to read the story wasn’t available I don’t think that I could have come up with it myself. It’s very hard to get the storyline of this film! There are clues in the closing credits and the characters are stated to be as above.

To further confuse the films cinematography is pure black and white, and I mean just that – black and white, there’s no shades of grey at all. It’s very difficult to see what’s really happening at times and the impression of a gigantic Rorschach test comes across. The close-ups are extreme and I don’t think there’s any right or wrongs when it comes to interpreting this film. There is no dialog whatsoever and the music is very sparse. But there is use of sound within the picture that is very effective. It makes it exciting with nature sounds as crickets in the background which generates very exiting sound constellations.








It’s all about grotesque and morbid sequences, that much is clear, even if the detail are very hard to figure out or even see! The quality of the picture itself can be compared to something from the silent movie era and is like a visual trip through symbolism and metaphorism. I could write a review with a few thousand words about this movie but to claim that I have any of the answers would be a lie, and I’m very diplomatic at that!

I believe that each and everyone will interpret this differently. You may hate it and you might love it but I don’t think there’s anything in between. It will affect all. I personally found a fascination for it even if I didn’t understood it in a way that I really would have liked. And there for I conclude this review in a little different way than usually. Here is some shorthand I noted when I saw it:

An intellectual challenge
Great Art
Beautiful
Macabre and grotesque imagery
Not revolting
A visual trip
Fascinating
Slow
Surreal
Astonishing
If you’re lucky you might find it for a couple of hundred bucks on eBay…