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Hourglass Sanatorium [Blu-ray] Sanatorium Pod Klepsydra - Remastered

Jerzy Trela , Jan Nowicki , Wojciech Has    Blu-ray
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Price: 14.77 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Hourglass Sanatorium [Blu-ray] Sanatorium Pod Klepsydra - Remastered + Saragossa Manuscript [Blu-ray] Rekopis Znaleziony w Saragossie - Remastered + Promised Land [Blu-ray] Ziemia Obiecana - Remastered
Price For All Three: 49.47

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Product details

  • Actors: Jerzy Trela, Jan Nowicki, Gustaw Holoubek, Mieczyslaw Voit, Ludwik Benoit
  • Directors: Wojciech Has
  • Format: Widescreen, Import, Blu-ray, Original recording remastered, Colour
  • Language: Polish
  • Subtitles: English, Polish
  • Region: All Regions (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: NR (Not Rated) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: DMMS
  • Run Time: 119.00 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,205 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Polish import, Region 0 (All) Blu-ray. In Polish language with optional English and Polish subtitles. Cover and booklet in Polish only.
Digitally remastered and fully restored.

Synopsis: A young man named Joseph (Jan Nowicki) visits a dilapidated Sanatorium to see his father Jakob (Tadeusz Konrad). On his arrival, a sinister doctor informs him that his father had stopped breathing but hasn't died yet, perhaps due to Joseph's arrival which may have halted time in the sanatorium. Joseph undertakes a strange journey through the many rooms of the sanatorium, each of which conjures worlds composed of his memories, dreams and nightmares. Adapted from a collection of short stories by Polish-Jewish writer Bruno Schulz, The Hourglass Sanatorium dispenses with traditional narrative, fashioning an audiovisual mosaic that blurs the line between reality and fantasy. As in The Saragossa Manuscript, Wojciech J. Has fashions a cinematic universe composed with byzantine sets, hallucinatory images and a gallery of grotesque characters. However his magical-realist vision of pre-WW2 Poland is tinged with the sober consciousness of the violence that would follow and the recreation of Joseph's childhood in a Jewish ghetto, foreshadowing the Holocaust.

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Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
The Hour-Glass Sanatorium (Sanatorum Pod Klepsydra) is an unusual film directed by Wojciech Has, which is based on a novel by Bruno Schultz. The story begins with Józef (Jan Nowicki) arriving by train to a sanatorium to visit his father. The sanatorium is immense and in disrepair, with vegetation growing out of the floor in nearly every room and hallway. There is a strangeness to this place as time seems to stand still here. Józef finds only a nurse and a doctor tending to all the sleeping patients there.

Józef is told he can go to sleep and rest, bringing us into the strange world of his dreams, which are like a hodgepodge of his past and fantasies. The Hour-Glass Sanatorium captures the essence of dreaming in which at any given moment the scene changes and completely bizarre happenings are taken to be normal. Wandering the dizzy maze of Józef's past leaves us grasping for meaning. The edges of reality are blurred and the nature of most of the events is truly comparable to hallucinations.

Although there is sure to be a lot of symbolism that one can find mixed into the story, one icon that is hard to overlook is the birds. There are birds throughout the movie, perhaps because Józef's father has an affinity to them. Furthermore, another inescapable element is that many of the characters in the film are Jewish and has a lot of imagery related to Judaism. The dress (or undress) of the women in the movie also deserves comment. Many of the women wear loose gowns that periodically expose their bosom or are not dressed at all, but not much notice is given to this fact.

The visual beauty and complexity of The Hour-Glass Sanatorium is staggering.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Hidden Gem 9 Jun 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"Hidden" in the sense that it isn't widely talked about but it really should.

Very digestible, creative, beauty and darkness - just a sublime film.

I wish more people had seen it; it deserves it.

If you're searching for a linear but mysterious mosaic of colour, cinematography and story that crosses the logical boundaries of time and reality... buy this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quiet Insanity 12 May 2012
By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Couched with hidden meanings. Beaming an echoing beauty, running along with a black Gothic horror depiction, it heads to the ovens. Seemingly driven with a constant desire to make human connections across the partition of death, the film is about transcience.

We meet our protagonist riding along a train of death, the bodies not as compressed as 1942, but they lie contorted. Eventually our hero is dropped off at the sanatorium by the blind conductor, who appears achingly akin to someone. The entry point to the asylum.

A Jewish film transcending ethnicity, illustrating over arching themes of both finding a meaning to life and death. As a result we are led through a series of composed framed vignettes, where flowing commonalities emerge; Jewish life depicted in the ghetto, finding a meaning to continue to survive, women with bared breasts who offer their sensuality, along with the ever-present singing birds, pounded together by the perpetual pressures of history.

All set in the coloured decaying grandeur of Miss Faversham's Gothic, dilapidated chic of a crumbling lifestyle; welcome to the sanatorium. Climbing through an Alice in Wonderland world, where the smell of an impending blood soaked holocaust pervades the air; old people emerge with their last stint lifestyles before they go into ashes. The train at the beginning brings the conductor into the scene- leading the people to their eventual resting places. Appearing both at the beginning and the end, he makes himself understood as the marker of distinct phases.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FROM THE ORIGINAL BOOK BY 9 Jan 2009
By G K
Just to point out that the original book here was by Bruno Schulz - rather than Jan Potocki (who wrote "The Manuscript Found in Saragossa", which has likewise been made into a film by Has).

The book, often titled "Sanatorium Under The Sign of The Hourglass" in English translation, is truly exceptional, and well worth tracking down.
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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hourglass Sanitorium 26 Nov 2008
Enthralling in its poetic language, captivating in its dark and somber mood, this film is for me one of those magically stylized counterculture classics that the world of cinema would be at a loss not to have.
Wojciech Jerzy Has' adoption of the original book by the polish writer Count Jan Potocki, is a dramatic wonderland journey through a dream like landscape and romance.
I found this wonderful film haunting in its cinematography and dark lighting which is backed perfectly by the eerie soundtrack by Krzyszt Penderecki, who also wrote the score for the The Shining.
A definite good choice for those who dare for something refreshingly different, totally captivating and entirely beautiful.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully crafted piece of art 16 Dec 2009
By a1ex8
This film is a wonderfully crafted piece of art, and embodies the most strikingly beautiful and crafted stage and set work I have seen captured on film. I urge all true film fans to watch this work and others by a truly gifted director.
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