BEGOTTEN (1990) - dir. by E. ELIAS MERHIGE
For the life of me, I cannot get this film out of my mind.
Undoubtedly one of the most unique, disturbing, and downright inhuman pieces of cinema ever constructed, Begotten is, more or less, a nightmare brought to life and put to film. No film before it ever foreshadowed it, and no film after can ever replicate it. It stands on its own in every way possible.
Before viewing, there’s a few things you need to know:
- It is filled to the brim with outlandish, violent, and disturbing imagery to such a degree that it can possibly affect your mind in a less-than-desirable way. It is a film that is not meant for the weak-willed, nor is it meant for the squeamish. To “enjoy” Begotten is to simply get lost in it’s world, to let go of whatever humanity you had before you put the film on. Let that be a warning.
- Sound. The soundtrack mainly consists of crickets chirping endlessly, occasional subhuman grunting, and various “squishy-fleshy” sounds, with some points of ominous ambient numbers. This sort of soundtrack gets monotonous through the film’s 71-minute run time, and it isn’t totally paramount to the overall experience of watching the film. So if that ever happens to draw your ire, find some sort of album to put on as an appropriate replacement.
- Despite the notion that Begotten is supposed to be a re-telling of the Book of Genesis, do not let that step in the way of your own interpretation of what happens in the film. As far as I’m concerned, Begotten may as well just not have any plot at all. As far as I’m concerned, Begotten can have a totally different plot every time I watch it. This is not so much a film in any traditional sense, as it is a giant moving painting in monochrome.
Overall, Begotten is a film that is specifically designed to evoke a myriad of interpretations, reactions, and opinions, and no single one of any of those things will ever totally suffice. Begotten is what it is, and it does not compromise or alter itself to appeal to everyone.