The Saragossa Manuscript

1965 [POLISH]

Comedy / Drama / Fantasy

0
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 93%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 90%
IMDb Rating 7.8 10 5412

spain vorfahren

Plot summary


Uploaded by: FREEMAN
August 22, 2022 at 05:57 AM

Director

Top cast

720p.BLU
1.65 GB
1280*536
Polish 2.0
NR
24 fps
3 hr 3 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Levana 10 / 10

Complex and dazzling

"The Saragossa Manuscript" is a brilliant work, by turns (or simultaneously) mysteriously spooky and wildly funny. Its unusually long running time does not get tiring because it is so full of variety and unfailing inventiveness. The stories of a crowd of distinctive characters intermesh into a unity that is not obvious at first, but slowly grows clearer -- one of the ideas that can be gathered from the movie is precisely that of the interdependence of people who would seem to have little in common, whether Christian, Jew or Moslem. It's a profoundly humanistic idea.

This theme is the contribution of the novelist Jan Potocki, a Pole living in France when he wrote "The Manuscript Found in Saragossa" at the beginning of the 19th century. One of the main strengths of the movie is also mainly Potocki's, the creation of a Spain of dreams, full of romance, mystery, lively humor, and eroticism (the novel found difficulty in being published originally, and the author was criticised for his libertinism). As vividly brought to the screen by Wojcech Has, this Spain is a place that a viewer will want to return to repeatedly.

Has, however, strongly emphasized the phantasmagorical elements in the novel. The atmosphere that he creates, and the visual style that supports it, are another major asset of the movie. The images of the haunted Sierra Morena are consistently touched with strangeness but not overburdened. I think especially of one shot where the tumbled white rocks look just like bleached bones -- an effect that wouldn't have worked so well if the movie had been in color. In keeping with this shift of emphasis, the adaptation contributes a new ending to the story, which is entirely appropriate; it comes from a distinctly twentieth-century sensibility.

Add to this a uniformly skillful cast (special recognition goes to Slawomir Lindner as the elder Van Worden) and you have a movie that I can't recommend strongly enough.

Reviewed by benoit-3 10 / 10

Keys to understanding the film... and the DVD

"The Saragossa Manuscript" is a very entertaining film that two or three viewings will eventually allow you to understand fully. Its style mixes an easy congeniality and libertine spirit à la "Tom Jones" (1963) with elements of sophisticated comedy and slapstick commedia dell'arte, all delivered by an expert cast and imbued with a tangible sense of fun and mystery.

Its story centers around the efforts by a brave officer in mid-XVIIIth Century Spain to distance himself from ghosts or evil spirits that visit him every night and take the form of two charming Muslim sisters who want to be his lovers and bear his children, even in succubi form, and insist that he convert to Islam. Those erotic (and heretic) reveries also have something to do with devilry and all things forbidden and his encounters with those women are encouraged by the mysterious figure of the Cabalist (another forbidden science) and his sister Rebecca and severely repressed by roaming members of the Catholic Inquisition. This framing story is the pretext for a series of very involving and amusing moral tales told in flashback by several participants, who all echo each other and whose moral seems to be that all religious and social prohibitions and ghost stories should be taken with a grain of salt. In this ocean of mystery and gothicism stands the figure of Don Pedro Velasquez, a mathematician who befriends the hero and who seems the only character to believe in the cold light of reason (foreshadowings of Polanski's "The Fearless Vampire Killers").

After several viewings, the only point in the film which remains mysterious is why Frasqueta's lover (Pena Flor) should appear with a bloodied face when he climbs in her bedroom through a window, a fact the viewer has to provide his own backstory for and which could be evidence that the original film was even longer than the 182 minutes at which it clocks in on the restored DVD edition. (Personal theory: Pena Flor really was Frasqueta's lover and the band of thugs Frasqueta hired to deceive her husband into believing he had paid to have his wife's lover killed really did attempt to kill him before he paid them to kill her husband instead.) Well, that and the fact that Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, an early fan of the film and one the persons responsible for its restoration, was fond of quoting a scene from the film that doesn't seem to exist anymore (a character's confrontation with Death at the foot of his bed, which, according to DVD Savant, could come from the 1960 Mexican film "Macario")...

A WORD ABOUT THE DVD: This film was restored thanks to the efforts and money of Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and the above-mentioned Jerry Garcia, and the collaboration of the director. It was shot in Dyaliscope, the French CinemaScope equivalent, which is always projected at a standard 2.35:1 ratio. This "enhanced for widescreen TVs" DVD shows an image with a ratio of 2:1, which means that the picture information is still squeezed by a ratio of 15 % in relation to the way it should be shown normally. In this presentation, the picture is "fish-eyed" and the characters and animals appear too slim. There is no way around this problem if you watch it on a 4:3 television set. However, if you own a widescreen TV, you can set-up your DVD player as for a standard 4:3 TV monitor and gently unsqueeze the resulting picture with any one of the "cheater" modes provided by your TV model to approximate a 2:35 presentation. There is no way of knowing if this drawback is the result of simple ignorance (mistaking the 2:1 squeeze of Dyaliscope with a 2:1 projection ratio) or of a compromise allowing to use the greater part of the TV screen in both 4:3 and 1.77:1 TV sets. It took me along time to figure out this problem and I am glad to share this little trick with you.

Reviewed by Alex Klotz 10 / 10

Unusual, imaginative classic of fantastic cinema

Although I usually try to avoid very long movies, I was glad I took the time to watch this one. Based on Jan Potocki's marvelous, somewhat `enlightened Gothic novel', this is another congenial literary adaptation of Director Wojciech Has; it's a shame this is the only one of his movies easily available. The film tells of a young soldier traveling through Spain and meeting a lot of strange characters that all have their own stories to relate. Of course, the series of interlocked stories-within-stories may appear complicated, but there is always the opportunity to just lean back and enjoy the story being told right now; or to look at the diagram in the great DVD Edition to make things clear. And surely there doesn't seem to be a central thread if you don't watch the end of the movie. (How useful would a review of, say `The usual Suspects' be, if you didn't watch the ending?) And, by the way, there are a lot more stories and framing devices in the novel… It's no wonder that (Danger! Pretentious name-dropping ahead) this is one of Luis Bunuel's favorite movies, the structure of some of his later films, especially `The Milky Way' and `The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie' bear a lot of resemblance. And there's a scene in `Monty Python's Life of Brian', in which the Pasheko – Character reappears. (It's too close to be a coincidence.) To cut a long story short: If you prefer films with a straight forward narration; this one's obviously not for you. But if you're open minded and like to see a highly original, imaginative epic, try it.

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