Begotten, which has been both praised for its artistic originality and condemned as a "metaphysical splatter film" for its gruesomely chilling images, has taken its place as one of the nightmare cult classics of the 90s. Told without dialogue, Begotten opens in an unknown land during an unknown time, where a lonely god disembowels himself with a razor. A new spirit, a goddess full of energy and mystery, arises from the inert remains of the self-immolated god and dances through the woods. Soon the goddess gives birth to a quivering man-child, who is initally revered by a tribe of mysterious hooded figures. But when the goddess and her offspring attempt to leave, the tribe turns on them, ravaging their bodies until they are sliced into gruesome pieces. The remains of the slain are buried and flowers miraculously emerge over their graves.
Here's what the critics have to say about BEGOTTEN:
RICHARD CORLISS, TIME MAGAZINE:
ONE OF THE
TEN BEST PICTURES
OF THE YEAR!
"Nobody will get through BEGOTTEN without being marked. In this nightmare classic by Edmund Elias Merhige, a godlike thing dies giving birth to a quivering messiah thing; then the local villager things ravage and bury them, and the earth renews itself on their corpses. It is as if a druidical cult had re-enacted, for real, three Bible stories -- creation, the Nativity and Jesus' torture and death on Golgotha -- and some demented genius were there to film it. No names, no dialogue, no compromises, no exit. No apologies either, for BEGOTTEN is a spectacular one-of-a-kind (you wouldn't want there to be two), filmed in speckled chiaroscuro so that each image is a seductive mystery, a Rorschach test for the adventurous eye."
FILM THREAT MAGAZINE
"The result is a thing of beauty, where realistic images are turned upside down by the grotesque and flowers are trampled by the darkening clouds of a nightmare."
"...a film that's so off-putting and cryptic that it's shocking how successfully it walks its own unique line."
"One of the ten most important films of modern times."
Complex Corporation presents BEGOTTEN. A film by E. Elias Merhige.
With Brian Salzberg, Donna Dempsey, & Stephen Charles Barry.
Director of Photography & Film Effects E. Elias Merhige.
Sound by Evan Albam.
Art Direction by Harry Duggins. A Production of Theatreofmaterial.
Written, produced & directed by E. Elias Merhige. A World Artists Release.