All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. 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…
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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…
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,…
A labyrinthine, Buñuelian picaresque. Great fun.
The plot is one of those Russian dolls-within-dolls-within-dolls-within-dolls. Zbignew Cybulski grins and grimaces but basically overacts shamelessly. But the compositions, cinematography, and costumes are to-die-for. No wonder Jerry Garcia loved this flick. But I hate The Grateful Dead, except for "Uncle John's Band", despite my overpowering penchant for marijuana, so this rates a mere 7/10.
A funny, sexy romp, but its most distinctive feature is a dizzying sequence of stories within stories that befuddles even the characters themselves. I loved the setting, humor, and personalities, but the craft required to balance so many characters and plots shines above all else.
A Spanish officer wanders about a desolate landscape marked by discarded skulls and hanging bodies. Someone tells him a story; inside that story, someone else tells one; and then again, and again. The tales criss-cross, gaining in intricacy until you can’t even remember how deep the rabbit hole goes—a sustained structural joke that gains in strength up to the final frame. The tales take Has through the different social classes depicted in his oeuvre: drunks, monks, soldiers, sinners, gentlemen, and even a few ghosts. (Men of nobility are granted the foreground, while the poorer classes waft silently through the back.) Has gleefully alternates between the ghoulish and the goofball, but always maintains his eye for Brueghelian long shots—they let him…
Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Sprawling and surprisingly hilarious, with countless nested narratives that connect in unexpected ways and a charming self-awareness throughout. I had gone into this thinking it would be really weird but found it fairly straightforward, if complex in its storytelling. The visuals are beautiful but only slightly surreal, and the plot generally stays in realistic (if rather ridiculous) territory.
Only one woman got to tell a story but hers was the best one, I wish there had been a little more of that but I never assumed this would be anything but a men-focused movie. There are plenty of women in it, so consistently ample-bosomed it was honestly kinda funny, but they don't get to tell their own stories.
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The Saragossa Manuscript is 2/3 of one of the greatest films of all time.
The first part of the film is a surrealist mystery, that is bold and engaging. The thematic ties to religion and faith are ludicrous, yet thoughtful and interesting. I guess the way the film thematically ties to anything is so absurd and silly, the boldness of the ideas don't feel overwhelming.
Then comes the second part. A part that is so dull and frustrating, I would've stopped watching if I wasn't watching this for class. This part constantly introduces new characters and new stories that have nothing to do with the main storyline. I could've dealt with how disorienting it was if it felt like it…
A clusterfuck of mindfucks
A big collection of films that might be considered as strange, mindfucking, surreal and weird. Sorted by year. Suggestions are…
Everyone has to start somewhere and although there might be quite a few great lists that introduce people to foreign…