The Saragossa Manuscript (1999)

TOMATOMETER

——

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

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.
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Art House & International , Comedy , Drama , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 limited
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Cowboy Booking International

Cast

Zbigniew Cybulski
as Capt. Alfons van Worden
Leon Niemczyk
as Don Avadoro
El?bieta Czy?ewska
as Frasquetta
Beata Tyszkiewicz
as Dona Rebeca Uzeda
Ludwik Benoit
as Pascheco's Father
Stanislaw Igar
as Don Gaspar Soarez
Iga Cembrzynska
as Princess Emina
Joanna Jedryka
as Princess Zibelda
Slawomir Linder
as van Worden's Father
Miroslawa Lombardo
as van Worden's Mother
Barbara Kraff
as Camilla
Pola Raksa
as Inezilla
August Kowalczyk
as Envoy of the Holy Inquisition
Adam Pawlikowski
as Cabalist
Gustaw Holoubek
as Don Pedro Velasquez
Krzysztof Litwin
as Don Lopez Soarez
Elzbieta Czyzewska
as Frasquetta
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Saragossa Manuscript

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (4)

The director's eye for baroque black-and-white imagery puts him behind only Bava and Welles, while the film's sharp social satire gives heft to its ambition.

April 2, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

By any standard, a long strange trip.

April 2, 2008
Village Voice
Top Critic

Infus[es] a similar unearthly cadenceo the swashbuckling genre that Jodorowski did to the western with El Topo.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

These trials suggest a goofy, sprawling, all-purpose allegory so overstuffed with symbolism that it plays as a kind of epic spoof of the form.

December 31, 1999
New York Times
Top Critic

Has reaches the epitome of his dazzling talent for warping cinematic time in this three hour epic, a giddy, almost unclassifiable work with elements from such disparate genre works as "The Brides of Dracula" to swashbucklers and European sex farces.

Full Review… | April 10, 2015
Reeling Reviews

I do not hesitate to call "The Saragossa Manuscript" a masterpiece in every way.

Full Review… | April 9, 2015
Reeling Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Saragossa Manuscript

Great movie. Kinda sucky American DVD though. The aspect ratio looks wrong and no extras to speak of. This film has so much going on it practically cries out for a scholarly commentary.

Bob Stinson
Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

½

Polish black and white film about Alfonso van Worden, captain in the Walloon Guard. What happens to him, and then what happens to other people, and then stories that turn into other stories ..... a bit like the Thousand and One Arabian Nights, except it only took me four consecutive evenings to get all the way through it - partly the 3 hour viewing time, partly the multiple plots requiring concentration, and mostly because I'm rubbish at remembering names and faces. Which is not to say its dull, it isn't, more to say my brain hurts easily. According to Wikipedia, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Luis Buñuel, David Lynch, Lars von Trier, Harvey Keitel and Jerry Garcia have at various times described The Saragossa Manuscript as their favorite film. Bet their brans didn't hurt.

Lesley N
Lesley N

Super Reviewer

½

a stupendous surrealist mindfuck of a movie based on what can only be a fantastic book by a complete madman...takes place in spain but filmed in polish and from there it only gets weirder. the intricate story structure folds back on itself multiple times, with characters including gypsies, bandits, moorish princesses and a kabbalist. i probably need to watch it again to get them all straight but i'm a sucker for films that begin with a magical book :) btw this film was made in 1965, not 1999!

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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