Skip to content

Begotten * E. Elias Merhige (1990)

So you thought “Eraserhead” is weird? Try “Begotten”! Usually telling the story of a film makes a massive “spoiler”, but in this case it actually helps to know what you are looking at. “Begotten” seems to tell a story of creation. In the first scene you see a man cutting himself up: God. As he dies, a young woman appears who is mother earth. Mother earth impregnates herself with God’s semen. I do not recall seeing her having a child, but the character we follow mostly is the ‘son of earth’. ‘Son of earth’ is in a very bad state from the start, but when he is discovered by a group of faceless nomads his fate is even worse. The nomads kill ‘son of earth’, have a ball with mother earth, bury them (or just ‘son of earth’?) and flowers start to bloom on the surface of the earth.
Right, having given you the story, let me tell you a bit about the film. It looks like footage of a century old, granular, in extremely high-contrast black and white. Most of the time I had a hard time trying to find out what I was looking at. Perhaps it is for the better that the film is not in high definition, since the film is extremely gory. Blood, guts, smashed-in heads, rapings; creation certainly was not a lovely event in the eyes of Merhige.
So you get it, a difficult film for a select audience. Personally I thought it was interesting in a way, but it is for the better that it only lasts for 78 minutes. Also I was glad that I looked up the story while watching, otherwise it would just have been a sequence of shocking scenes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *