begotten (1990)

A suffocated realisation where linear narrative is about as ambiguous as the sinister images it conjures, Begotten obscures all over arching boundaries formed by conventional cinema and yet bypasses avant-garde sensibilities, instead concocting an horrific moving canvas.

Monochromatic footage awash with eroded textures facilitate the final moments of a dying human-like figure, hacking at its stomach, revealing a beautifully masked woman as her birth is graced with a lush melody. She impregnates herself & she too bears man, a profound genesis dwelled upon with a significance much more harrowing then that of her own existence. Both these entities hold precedence to the film’s central core as their survival is exploited, their suffering the sole focus at the behest of a group of cloaked figures.

Devoid of dialogue, commentary and only adorning a simplistic soundtrack complimentary to certain aspects of the ‘plot’, interpretation is purely subjective – it’s biggest asset, hence it’s close ties with theatre and the success of Elias Merhige’s eerie manifestation in numerous circles. The religious overtones surrounding the implications of the film’s overall trajectory seem like somewhat of a simplistic conclusion to draw and while not completely unjustified, finding your own meaning could see your appreciation of this primitively human & filmic exploration build it’s own significance, it’s own savagery, or even it’s own beauty.

Begotten is purely organic in all its components, a skilfully crafted balance between allure and repulsion and ultimately a challenging experience for the engaged cinephile.