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Twisted Minds - Underground Reviews

torsdag 22 mars 2018

BEGOTTEN (1990)

Directed by: Edmund. Elias Merhige
Written by: Edmund. Elias Merhige
Stars:  Brian Salzberg, Donna Dempsey, Stephen Charles Barry... read more

Country: USA
Style: Arthouse | Fantasy
Runtime: 1h 12min
DATE: 2018-03-22 | WRITER: SEMENYA FRENJANI SCREENSHOTS:

Oh, Begotten, do you feel a bitter frustration grabs your cheeks now? Why must Begotten constantly crawl on these lists, It's not even a good movie, right? Well, it may seem so, but nobody can deny that Begotten is one of the world's most creepiest constellation ever made, whether you want it or not. But If you like suggestive art that stimulates the surrealistic department of your brain and loves to recall Georges Méliès 'Le Voyage dance la lune' (1902) or later, Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí's 'Un Chien Andalou' (1929), then Begotten is not an exception from the world's signature.

It was when I watched James Quinn's 'Flesh of the Void' (2017) that I immediately came to think of much of his filmic inspirations. Apart from the above titles of Georges Méliès, Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí, Begotten was also a small part of the painted pattern in his creation. And from there, I couldn't resist resurrecting an old classic like Begotten, a movie that has been heard or been seen by almost all captive cineists. So what is it all about then?

The start of Begotten began when director Edmund. Elias Merhige was educated at State University of New York Purchase. Once there he began to be interested in Art & Performance and fierced deeply for the Japanese dance-group Sankui Juku. It was this group's way of lifestyle that inspired Elias and he started to performing different types of breathing exercises this group was dealing with. These exercises set the mind in trans, and Elijah began to hallucinate. Afterwards, he began to analyze the most important points of view that provoked himself to be unclear; so Begotten is a work created from the visions that Elijah imagined when he was thrown into trans.

The result became a visual metaphysical and surreal journey, perhaps also one of the most symbolic films that exist? The film is completely talkless and is built with ambient sounds. It unfolds in an unknown country in an unknown age and it's difficult to perceive the actual message of the film. We can call it a creation-story in which God in the beginning of the film commits suicide to give birth to a woman. The woman, who is Mother Earth, give birth to a son. We follow the son's journey through a post-apocalyptic landscape, and as he is trampled through sparse forests and over mountains, he is attacked by faceless creatures that seem to be the only inhabitant of this world.

Elias gave Begotten a skewed view of the Biblical set of the earths creation story. It isn't only poetically beautiful but also terrible macabre to watch. It gives ample space for self-reflections and creates (if you're receptive to cinematic suggestion) strong feelings. The film resembles much of David Lynch's debut classic "Eraserhead" - especially in the splatter scenes where liquids of indeterminable nature penetrate the most incredible forms.

Since the movie lacks dialogue, one can not estimate the characters' act. This is about art and is also ment to be seen in this way. If you are difficult to estimate Begotten from such a perspective one has to think that it hasn't a thorough story to tell, it invites only on a bunch of psychotic needles that slowly penetrate your subconscious. The vague but disturbing images of pain and torture in a desolate landscape leave room for your own fantasies.

To tell a bit about some trivia; The most amazing thing about the movie was that it required about eight to ten hours of optical work with re-photography, visual treatments and filtering (only to produce one minute film). The total after-production of its 72 minutes was eight months. Elias also wrote two followers to Begotten, but what happened to them is impossible for me to answer. You simply have to take care of the work that are already out there.

Estimately I recommend Begotten to anyone who has a suggestive eye for film-historical art. It has meant- and means much today. People like James Quinn continue to be inspired by suggestive art form and that is something that more and more people should take advantage of. It is among the most beautiful and imaginative we still have and no one will take away from us.


My rating: 4 out of 5











MORE DETAILS:

Produced by: E. Elias Merhige
Cinematography by: E. Elias Merhige
Editing by: Noëlle Penraat
Special Effects by: Harry Duggins, Dean Mercil
Music by: Evan Albam
Language: None
Color: Black and White

Distributor: World Artists



SEMENYA FRENJANI:

Owner of and writer for Twisted Minds. French Canadian weirdo, lives in the past, afraid of the future, but curious about what to come. Beginner in extreme horror and visual arthouse, and finds it exciting to discover the world down under. Growed in the 80's and discovered cheesy classics, among others John Carpenter, Wes Craven, David Cronenberg, Stuart Gordon. Live for electro, rock and metal music and have a long story full of concert memories. This is the first time he takes the interest in writing about what he is experiencing.
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