Monday, June 22, 2015

Begotten (1990)

I had had my eyes on this one for a while now and this time I finally decided to watch it. Begotten is a typical love it or hate it movie. Some people praise it to be a masterpiece, others think it's a pile of shit. In this case I belong to the second group, although I don't think it's a TOTAL piece of shit.

God disembowels himself with a straight razor. The spirit-like Mother Earth emerges, venturing into a bleak, barren landscape. Twitching and cowering, the Son Of Earth is set upon by faceless cannibals.

Director E. Elias Merhige creates a strange type of movie, which I can only describe as a morbid mix between The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Cannibal Holocaust and The Passion of the Christ, with an 1800 screenfilter. On a couple of occasions you'll really wonder what the heck you're watching (did I really just see the lifeless body of god get a handjob by some strange chick!..?). The plot will be suggestive for 99% of the viewers who watch this movie without further ''knowledge'', meaning reading a plot on IMDB prior to watching it. The movie itself doesn't make clear at all what's happening. I guess it's just the viewer's job to figure that out himself.

Merhige chooses not to use any kind of dialogue or music. That's fine, but it also means that the other soundeffects to create the atmosphere have to be top notch. Unfortunately they aren't. It's mainly just singing birds that are heard in the background. A total shame because the ''gasping sound'' this strange, spastic creature occasionaly makes is creepy as hell. The movie is mainly praised for its lugubrious vibe. I'll admit that there are some scenes that are pretty weird and morbid, but most aren't. In fact, most scenes are terrible boring. The camerawork has a huge influence on this. When there's good use of the camera (like in the scene where the spastic creature gets hit in the head with the hammer), the scene tends to be very creepy. Unfortunately though most of this movie's camerawork is unclear. 9 out of 10 times you won't have a single clue what's going on on the screen. I had hoped that Begotten would be a total assault on your senses. Unfortunately it's only an extreme test for your patience, which isn't one of my stronger characteristics anyway. 

Normally I'd encourage the making and existance of projects like these, but they should have just made this a 15 minute short. A full length film, even though it's only 70 minutes, is just overkill. Definitely a disappointing piece of film, which is also burdened by some terrible pace by the way (mainly talking about the scenes where they hoist the spastic creature up the hill or the vaginal mutilation scene...snoozzzzee)

Fun Fact (Source: IMDB)
Approximately eight to ten hours of optical work - re-photographing, visual treatments, and filtering - was required to produce one minute of film. The total post-production period for the 72-minute movie was eight months.

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