Dir. E. Elias Merhige (1989)
A surrealist, black-and-white film about the birth and death of the gods and man's abuse of nature.
CAUTION: THIS MOVIE'S SUBJECT & CONTENT IS EXTREMELY DISTURBING AND/OR BRUTAL. I HAVE CHOSEN NOT TO INCLUDE ANY PICTURES IN THIS REVIEW BECAUSE THEY MAY BE UPSETTING TO SOME READERS. MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.
You gotta love a movie like Begotten, one where the director and those involved don't see fit to release on any conventional form of media, because it's not a "movie," but rather art. I watched it on YouTube, and its still up for anyone interested. From everything I've read, I had to watch it to be a true "student" of the genre, and some have called it one of the most disturbing movies ever made. Needless to say, that piqued my interest, and I watched it throughout the day on my breaks at work. Totally used up all my data on my cellphone, but it was worth it to put this in the "watched" pile.
Begotten follows the story of the birth of the gods, and the plot follows exactly what you'd expect an incredibly strange student film to follow. The chief god kills himself by disemboweling himself with a razor. We watch him twitch and writhe as the blood pours out, and then "Mother Earth" comes out of him, jerks him off, and uses his semen to impregnate herself. She gives birth to man, or the "Son of Earth", and then man is set upon by cannibals, who kill him and Mother Earth and bury them, resulting in growing flowers. The film was surprisingly interesting, description notwithstanding. It was completely silent, other than the background noise, which sound like birds chirping and nature sound for the entire one hour runtime. This was certainly effective, as it left you with an ability to focus on what was going on in each scene, as well as ample time to truly process your "dafuq" feelings.
The film was shot entirely in black-and-white grainy footage, and it was certainly art. That being said... what a pretentious load of crap. As I've stated earlier, being described as avant garde by someone else is an enormous compliment among the art community. The director, however, has described himself as thus, and what have we learned? That makes him a pretentious douchebag.
Was the film worthwhile? Sure, every film is worthwhile. Was it entertaining? Sure, absolutely, and I'm glad I watched. But holy shit, the pretentiousness was literally dripping off the screen. I have a feeling everyone involved with this project thought this was the best movie ever made when they were done. And it wasn't, it really wasn't. And it was gross.
Who this movie is for: Arthouse film fans, Gory horror lovers, E. Elias Merhige (you just know it's his favorite movie of all time)
Bottom Line: Yeah, watch it I guess. Maybe you'll feel like you wasted an hour, maybe you won't. I didn't really, or maybe I did. I honestly have no idea. It wasn't a particularly good movie, wasn't a particularly bad movie. What the fuck, it's only an hour, give it a go. At the very least you'll feel a tad more pretentious when you're done.