Begotten (1989)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

A "metaphysical splatter film" that was praised by Susan Sontag as "one of the 10 most important films of modern times," Begotten is a very grainy, often powerful work of experimental cinema which seems to land somewhere between David Lynch's surreal Eraserhead and James Broughton's heavily symbolic Dreamwood. The film opens with God Killing Himself: a man in rags slicing into his own belly as he spews dark fluid and oozes filth. Mother Earth emerges, or is born, from this excoriation and … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Art House & International, Cult Movies, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: E. Elias Merhige
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 20, 2001



as God Killing Himself

as Mother Earth

as Son of Earth - Flesh...
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Critic Reviews for Begotten

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (2)

Mr. Merhige's concentration, while impressive in its way, seems almost entirely self-contained, with little effort to engage an audience on even the level of myth; the film's approach is far too grotesque for that.

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

If you're squeamish you should avoid this like the plague; others may find it hard to shake off the artistry and originality of this visionary effort. And if you're looking to be freaked out you shouldn't pass it up.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Plays too much like an earnest repertory-theater group going through various bizarro configurations.

Full Review… | December 30, 2002

A passion play that wavers between amateur-hour incompetence and an undeniable directorial vision.

Full Review… | June 10, 2002

I have said 'I have never seen anything like it' about other films, but it has never applied to something so entirely alien as this.

Full Review… | February 28, 2002
Goatdog's Movies

Brilliant experimental feature, truly shocking and original.

Full Review… | September 7, 2001

Audience Reviews for Begotten


God takes the shape of a woman and guts herself with a scalpel while breathing like Michael Myers then shits herself and we get to watch shit run down her leg for 3 minutes? how the hell could the world's most gifted filmmaker possibly show a scene after that and shock us?

Coxxie Mild Sauce

Super Reviewer

God disembowels himself with a straight razor, among other metaphysical atrocities in this nearly narrativeless 70 minute experimental feature where each frame of film has been painstakingly transformed and distressed to create a starkly beautiful chiaroscuro universe. A very hard film to rate; a successful, if painfully overlong, visual experiment, but the overall effect is almost the opposite of entertainment.

Greg S

Super Reviewer

A tedious pseudo intellectual experiment that would have worked better as a short film.

Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer

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