Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Begotten (1990)

Begotten is one of those movies that has been spoken of in some form or another for the past twenty years and with good reason. If David Lynch films like “Eraserhead” are hard to explain, then Begotten is damn near impossible. There’s an explanation offered on the video box, going on and on about how the movie is actually a veiled re-enactment of three biblical stories “creation, the Nativity and Jesus’ torture and death at Golgotha”. Whether or not that’s what you end seeing is up to the viewer.

Begotten is every arthouse film student’s wet dream. It’s a visual experience where the story is not only inconsequential but almost, not even there. What you see is a human-like thing bleeding and dying on a chair, a woman rises from behind, impregnates herself with the human/god-like thing’s semen, gives birth to a quivering adult-child thing that looks like it’s having an hour long seizure. These dwarf/druid things are all up in their business and things happen. While that is the gist of what is going on in terms of story, the visuals are much more visceral and … I hate to be corny but they are literally entrancing. (For me) watching this highly grainy, highly contrasted black and white movie was like being in  trance, where any and all commentary was completely unnecessary and moving my eyes from the screen was not an option or a thought.

This movie is not for everyone. It is truly an “either love it or hate it” experience. If you’re fine with movies that don’t need a plot but tell a story solely through it’s imagery, if you’re cool with silent movies (except for a low droning slightly staticky sound) then this might be the movie for you. If what I just described seems incredibly stupid and pretentious, stay far away.

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