Definitions

Begotten

Begotten

[bih-got-n]

Begotten is a 1991 Experimental/horror film, directed and written by E. Elias Merhige.

The film heavily deals with religion and the biblical story of earth creation. But as Merhige revealed during Q&A sessions, its primary inspiration was a near death experience he had when he was 19, after a car crash. The film features no dialogue, but rather uses harsh and uncompromising images of human pain and suffering to tell its tale.

The film was shot on black and white reversal film, and then every frame was painstakingly rephotographed for the look that is seen. The only colors are black and white. There are no half-tones. This is intended to add to the eerie atmosphere of the movie, as sometimes the viewer cannot always exactly make out what it is being shown, but can still infer a sense of suffering. The look of the film has been described as "a Rorschach test for the eye". Merhige said that for each minute of original film, it took up to 10 hours to rephotograph it for the look desired.

Mehrige also revealed in Q&A sessions that he would like this film to be the first of a trilogy. He is experiencing difficulties getting proper funding, and it is unknown if/when the two other films will be made.

Music video "Cryptorchid", single for Antichrist Superstar by Marilyn Manson, was directed by E. Elias Merhige and includes footage from Begotten.

Plot

The film opens with a robed, profusely bleeding "God" disemboweling himself, with the act ultimately ending in his death. A woman emerges from his remains, arouses the body, and impregnates herself with his ejaculate. Becoming pregnant, she wanders off into a vast and barren landscape. The pregnancy manifests in a fully grown man whom she leaves to his own devices.

The "Son of Earth" meets a group of faceless nomads who seize him with what is either a very long umbilical cord or a rope. The Son of Earth vomits organic pieces, and the nomads excitedly accept these as gifts. The nomads finally bring the man to a fire and burn him.

"Mother Earth" encounters the resurrected man and comforts him. She seizes the man with a similar umbilical cord. The nomads appear and proceed to rape her. Son of Earth is left to mourn over the lifeless body. A group of characters appears, carry her off and dismember her, later returning for Son of Earth. After he, too, is dismembered, the group buries the remains, planting the parts into the crust of the earth. The burial site becomes lush with flowers.

Symbolism

While the movie is not easily approached—lacking both dialogue and discernible cultural symbols—it does contain references to various religious and pagan myths. Relatively obvious Christian myths are present in the impregnation of Mother Earth by God, akin to the impregnation of Mary by the Holy Spirit. The same myth is partly present in ancient Egyptian mythology, where Isis impregnates herself with the penis of the killed god Osiris and gives birth to Horus.

External links

References

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