All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…
The Saragossa Manuscript
In the Napoleonic wars, an officer finds an old book that relates his grandfather's story, Alfons van Worden, captain in the Walloon guard. A man of honor and courage, he seeks the shortest route through the Sierra Morena. At an inn, the Venta Quemada, he sups with two Islamic princesses. They call him their cousin and seduce him; he wakes beside corpses under a gallows. He meets a hermit priest and a goatherd; each tells his story; he wakes again by the gallows. He's rescued from the Inquisition, meets a cabalist and hears more stories within stories, usually of love. He returns to Venta Quemada, the women await with astonishing news.
A funny, surreal, Mobius strip of a movie couched in multiple levels of narrative indirection, that folds in on itself; defiantly refusing to give a flying rat's ass if you can't keep up.
The closest modern equivalent of The Saragossa Manuscript will probably be the Vulcan Mind Meld of a dozen Charlie Kaufman clones doing peyote in the desert as Christopher Nolan snorts their liquified brains with a rolled up Dali painting.
PS: It's late, and I'm tired.
Yes, this is a sprawling historical epic with interlocking mini-narratives that branch out at every opportunity, yet it's the farthest thing from a hulking white elephant. Instead, it plays its own structural conceits and overgrown plotting for absurd comedy. (By the ninth or tenth time a character leaned back and said, "Well, let me tell you a story..." everyone in the theater knew to laugh.) It also overflows with physical gags, which pop in and out of the widescreen frame, as well as nonstop jokes at the expense of 18th century Spanish nobility. Every clergyman and aristocrat may talk a big moral game, but the second it benefits them they all pirouette right into hypocrisy. The comedy here is broad,…
Polish folklore, mystery, adventure and the supernatural await you when glimpsing through the pages of the Saragossa Manuscript. It is a film full of epic tales (way more than one) and narrational devices that could easily leave your head spinning but somehow miraculously work.
"The Saragossa Manuscript" is divided into two parts. The first beginning on the very first level of narration with two warring soldiers from opposite sides held up in a old tavern where they discovered the manuscript and read it intently. In doing so they immerse themselves into the story without ever going back and reaching our second level of narration. The second level is a story of a Captain of the Walloon guard who is trying…
On a recent Charlie Brooker special, Adam Curtis pondered the possibility of a kind of 'asymmetrical politics', one where the power-brokers deliberately back completely contradictory causes in order to frustrate and confuse their opponents. His short film is a persuasive one, but I would be cautious about ascribing to malevolence what can be explained by insanity. One of the pioneers of backing completely mutually exclusive political causes was Jan Potocki, a Polish aristocrat and hot-air balloonist who ended his life convinced he was a werewolf. In desperation, he grabbed a strawberry-shaped silver doorknob from his house, whittled it down to a bullet and shot himself, becoming infamous as "the man who shot himself with a strawberry".
Given that capsule biography,…
Luis Buñuel, a cinema master who seldom watched movies more than once, was so fascinated by Wojciech Has' masterpiece titled Rekopis Znaleziony w Saragossie, that he saw it three times. Surrealism is a highly versatile film subgenre, and in this case, the Polish director decides to deliciously construct the most inventive ride of lunacy! Besides being the most renowned film by the director, a fact that clearly indicates that he obtained international recognition, Rekopis Znaleziony w Saragossie is a film that can be interpreted in several ways. No matter how seemingly retarded the interpretation is, that is the correct one. It was highly influenced by past satirical masterpieces of fantasy, but it also establishes a landmark in unconventional storytelling, unconditional…
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The Napoleonic Wars serve as the backdrop for this film's Boschian hellscape and it's story is a nesting doll that you can`t help but dismantle.
A must see for fans of surreal and absurdist cinema.
At one point this became a story within a story within a story within a story within a story within a story. I counted. The closest cinematic rendering I've ever seen to capturing the spirt and unreality of both Borges and Dalí.
One of the most messed-up movies you've never heard of — a three-hour epic about ghosts, Moors, gypsies, the Spanish Inquisition, cabalists and caballeros. It's a trippy, mind-bending story that takes the viewer off into another world, but it helps to have seen it more than once, because the plot becomes a bit, uh, complicated in the second half.
Upon finding a book that relates his grandfather's story, an officer ventures through Spain meeting a wide array of characters, most of whom have a story of their own to tell.
I watched this as part of a Polish Cinema season in my home city. All I knew was that it was old and 3 hours long, I had assumed that it was a slow serious art film but was I wrong.
TSM is a wonderful piece of cinema that is about stories inside stories which as you go along becomes the running joke. While not a flat out comedy by any means, there are genuine moments where the sparsely populated cinema all laughed vigorously.
Tonally it's great fun, and…
Infuriating, provocative, perplexing and inpenetrable, Wojciech Has's phantasmagoric meta-cinematic orgy comprises stark visual symbolism, Daedalian surrealism and some of the most (architecturally) awe-inspiring and unimaginably detailed mise en scène in Polish cinema history.
The film itself is admittably difficult to get into, as it constantly throws you off track with its insouciant narrative, infinite(ly) subtle twists and illogical violations of time and space, while compulsively toying with memory, fantasy and reality, as if they all bridged on the same plane of existence. The film itself unfolds like a manuscript, peeling back the page, as it overflows with new ideas, characters and landscapes, merging information and misinformation, emotion and indifference, ultimately assigning the (in)patient viewer the final role of inspector and…
Here's a valid question; have you ever felt the need to watch a three hour surrealist Polish film? If the answer is yes then Wojciech Has's 'The Saragossa Incident' is probably for you. If you answered no - and Lord knows that must be a lot of you - then maybe you should reevaluate that position because Has's film is a bizarre, if exhausting, baroque journey into the art of storytelling. It really is a beast of a film, a somewhat daunting experience that I dove into without any real thought.
Essentially the film tells the tale of Alfonso van Worden through the book chronicling his journey, found by two soldiers during a battle. Alfonso's journey to Madrid through the…
Hell no I couldn't keep up with it. Hell yes I loved every minute of it.
Half a star extra is reserved for a revisit of the latter half of the film, at which point the Matryoshka doll narrative cracked my skull open and spooned my brains out like egg yolk!
A work of genius that dazzled Buñuel and inspired Lynch!
A big collection of films that might be considered as strange, mindfucking, surreal and weird. Sorted by year. Suggestions are…
This list is the Letterboxd version of The Oxford History of World Cinema.
The book celebrates and chronicles over one…