Newest Reviews
Treasure City
Shiva Baby
Flowers of Shanghai
War and Peace
Merrily We Go to Hell
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)
Amusement Park, The
Hands of Orlac, The
Death has Blue Eyes
Kala Azar
After Love
Earwig and the Witch
Zebra Girl
Skull: The Mask
Bank Job
Drunk Bus
State Funeral
Army of the Dead
Dinner in America
Death Will Come and Shall Have Your Eyes
PG: Psycho Goreman
Sound of Metal
Things of Life, The
Newest Articles
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
  Begotten Feeling Creative
Year: 1991
Director: E. Elias Merhige
Stars: Brian Salzberg, Donna Dempsey, Stephen Charles Barry
Genre: WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: The sea, a seagull, a shack in the woods... and within that shack, sits God (Brian Salzberg) on a chair, coughing up blood and shaking. By and by he cannot stand his condition any longer and takes a cutthroat razor to his belly, hacking away at his innards that spill down his legs and onto the floor. Understandably he expires shortly after, but soon there is movement from under his robe and Mother Earth (Donna Dempsey) emerges into the sunlight, determined to do a better job of bringing life to this world than the suicidal God has done...

Begotten was an experimental film that caught the mood of a surprising amount of viewers, who took it as a challenge to get to the end of its murky goings-on. There is nothing audience-friendly about the film, and at many times it's difficult to make out what precisely is happening with its stark black and white photography, closeups that remain unilluminating and utter lack of dialogue by way of explanation. It's only at the end and you see the credits that you get an inkling that this is some sort of telling of the creation myth, with the brutality of an ancient Greek legend.

Alas, the film does not have the imagination of a Greek legend, much less their sense of archetype, and despite its reputation of being both fascinating and disturbing, the truth is that what Begotten is is in fact excruciatingly boring. It might only last just over an hour, but it feels like an eternity - the sole aspect that achieves the epic quality being strained for. There were comparisons made with David Lynch's Eraserhead, as both were shot in monochrome and both have a nightmarish quality, yet Begotten looks less like the mastery of that film and more like a student project that careered out of control.

E. Elias Merhige was the man responsible for this, being the producer, writer, cameraman and more: he might even have made the tea on the set as well. He would go on to more conventional works, but to his credit it does appear as if his artistic vision was realised here on what looks like a tiny budget. To give the film some atmosphere, the footage was worked on for months after it was shot which renders it looking as if it was discovered in someone's cellar after a long time forgotten, but while distinctive, it does not offer a visually stimulating look.

What it does offer is a bunch of guys dressed as monks - why does it always have to be monks? - wandering across a blasted wasteland and victimising a naked man (Stephen Charles Barry) who, it turns out, is meant to symobolise the suffering of humanity. Certainly you'll be suffering as you watch this chap convulse his way through the film, dragged across the ground with a rope and generally punished for coming into being: the film takes an extremely pessimistic approach to existence that is less existential and more "Poor me! Life is so unfair!" navel gazing. You have to admire Merhige for sticking to his guns and giving up nothing that would be seen as accomodating, but my goodness, it's tedious. Music by Evan Albam.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 5472 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (2)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf


Last Updated: