BEGOTTEN (1990) – The Dungeon Review!
Begotten is a film I suspect elicits strong feelings from people of either love or hate. Begotten is filmed in black and white and features a barrage of violent and unsettling images. The film has no dialog, very little music and most of the sound filling the air is that of insects and grunting. It has a grainy ancient look that I found most alluring. I don’t profess to understand every aspect of Begotten by any means. It is a strange, trippy and violent journey full of Christian and Pagan symbolism that I believe is really left open to interpretation. The credits state the three key characters are God killing himself, Mother Earth and Son of Earth (Flesh on Bone); there is no disputing the religious imagery included but I can not say I would have discerned that on my own. Begotten is not going to appeal to a good chunk of the population but personally I found the film visually stimulating, challenging and utterly mesmerizing.
Language bearers, photographers, diary makers
You with your memory are dead, frozen
Lost in a present that never stops passing
Here lives the incantation of matter
A language forever.
Like a flame burning away the darkness
Life is flesh on bone convulsing above the ground.
This is God killing himself. More specifically, this is God disemboweling himself.
His blood and guts pour out profusely and gather at his feet.
From his gory matter emerges Mother Earth. Mother Earth arouses the corpse of God and impregnates herself.
Pregnant Mother Earth gives birth in a dead and barren land.
Mother Earth gives birth to a full grown man. Son of Earth (Flesh on bone). Mother Earth leaves her full grown twitching and convulsing son to fend for himself.
An ominous sky moves overhead.
Faceless wanderers appear.
The faceless people tie a rope around the man and proceed to move the Son of Earth who appears to be vomiting up his insides.
I don’t think they have the Son of Earth’s best interest in mind.
Nope. The faceless wanderers most definitely do not have the Son of Earth’s best interest in mind.
Mother Earth comes back for her son.
More faceless people appear.
A lot of fecking crazy shit happens and some of it is violent and nasty.
When all is said and done death brings life and the barren land becomes lush with growth.
*Fun Fact: E. Elias Merhige went on to direct Shadow of the Vampire and Suspect Zero.
Dungeon Rating: 4/5
Directed By: E. Elias Merhige
Starring: Brian Salzberg, Donna Dempsey, Stephen Charles Barry, James Gandia, Daniel Harkins, Michael Phillips, Erik Slavin, Arthur Streeter, Adolfo Vargas, Garfield White