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The Saragossa Manuscript (1965)

Cast: Zbigniew Cybulski, Zbigniew Cybulski, Franciszek Pieczka, more...
Director: Wojciech Has, Wojciech Has
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Studio: Image Entertainment
Genre: Foreign, Poland, Fantasy
Running Time: 182 min.
Subtitles: English
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Alfons (Zbigniew Cybulski) is a young army captain who meets two women of Moorish ancestry at what appears to be a deserted inn near Madrid. They tell Alfons he is the descendant of a noble family and that he must undergo a series of challenging missions to prove himself. A magician tries to take his soul, and he is visited by ghosts near the mountains of Madrid. Author Jan Poticki committed suicide a year after the symbolic and allusive book this movie was based on was published. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

forget that jerry garcia stuff... by jaimetout November 30, 2003 - 10:17 PM PST
8 out of 9 members found this review helpful
this gem of polish cinema seems to have been forever linked with jerry garcia thanks to certain circumstances regarding its "revival" and subsequent DVD release. forget about all that. now i'm not crapping on garcia or his fans here, i just think that there is WAY (!!!) more to this movie than the "wow, ain't that trippy" connotations of garcia's endorsement. while not technically surrealist, it's always surreal, and in a way that is more conducive to a sober brand of awe and fascination than it is to drug-induced giggles (i'm not crapping on psychotropics either, mind you...). i have never seen any film, nor read any avant-garde novel, that more consistently and effectively works toward a nonlinear narrative. this film is innovative as hell in its narrative structure without succumbing to the same old stock irony and formal "experimentation" (read: reactionary sterility) of po-mo drivel like PULP FICTION. stories are nested within stories within stories within stories; at one point there are at least EIGHT levels of narration nested within one another. on top of that, at three engaging and life-changing hours in duration, it's the only surreal epic that i can think of. watch for the sudden shift in tone and mood about halfway through, in which the film's atmosphere takes on qualities of certain films by Lynch and Kubrick... Not to be missed at any price if you consider yourself to be a film buff.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.76)
79 Votes
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