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BEGOTTEN, which has been both praised for its artistic originality and condemned as a "metaphysical splatter film" for its gruesomely chilling images, has taken its rightful place as one of the great nightmare cult classics. Told without dialogue, BEGOTTEN opens in an unknown land during an unknown time, where a lonely god disembowels himself with a razor. A new spirit, a goddess full of energy and mystery, arises from the inert remains of the self-immolated god and dances through the woods. Soon the goddess gives birth to a quivering man-child, who is initally revered by a tribe of mysterious hooded figures. But when the goddess and her offspring attempt to leave, the tribe turns on them, ravaging their bodies until they are sliced into gruesome pieces. The remains of the slain are buried and flowers miraculously emerge over their graves.
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"ONE OF THE TEN BEST PICTURES OF THE YEAR. Nobody will get through BEGOTTEN without being marked. In this nightmare classic by Edmund Elias Merhige, a godlike thing dies giving birth to a quivering messiah thing; then the local villager things ravage and bury them, and the earth renews itself on their corpses. It is as if a druidical cult had re-enacted, for real, three Bible stories -- creation, the Nativity and Jesus' torture and death on Golgotha -- and some demented genius were there to film it. No names, no dialogue, no compromises, no exit. No apologies either, for Begotten is a spectacular one-of-a-kind (you wouldn't want there to be two), filmed in speckled chiaro-scuro so that each image is a seductive mystery, a Rorschach test for the adventurous eye."
--Richard Corliss, TIME MagazineAbout the Director:
E. Elias Merhige was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1964.
In 1985 he founded Theatreofmaterial, whose work became the springboard for BEGOTTEN. His work both as a painter and a filmmaker was deeply influenced by primitive and tribal art: the monoliths of Stonehenge; burial sites of Indian mound builders; Dream Paintings of the Aborigines; and sacred ceremonies of African and Oceanic man. He was also influenced by expressionist artists like Bosch, Goya, Courbet and Munk, while the work of Kirsanov, Eisenstein, Lang and Bunuel contributed to his development as a cinematographer. Poetry and environmental theatre occupied a definite creative place for Merhige. Then, frustrated by the limitations of language, he turned to filmmaking.
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