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The Hourglass Sanatorium (Restored Edition) - (Mr Bongo Films) (1973) [DVD]

4.5 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Jan Nowicki
  • Directors: Wojciech Has
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Mr Bongo
  • DVD Release Date: 19 Mar. 2012
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006LGRIJS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 43,561 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

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.

Review

The Hourglass is a fundamental milestone in the history of the cinematographical language, an absolute masterpiece

--Le Monde

The Hourglass is a mind-blowing work, the cinematographic equivalent of all Mahler's symphonies put together

--International Film Guide

There are many films that have been described as dreamlike but few remain worthy of the description for their full feature length. Hourglass Sanatorium, however, is the (sur)real deal

--Film 4

The Hourglass is a mind-blowing work, the cinematographic equivalent of all Mahler's symphonies put together

--International Film Guide

There are many films that have been described as dreamlike but few remain worthy of the description for their full feature length. Hourglass Sanatorium, however, is the (sur)real deal

--Film 4

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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Comment 47 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 May 2012
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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Format: DVD
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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"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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Rarely is the funding put up to realise a film as strange as this - gets as close as any I have seen to the atmosphere of a dream. Also makes sense though, as a jumble of memories and feelings getting processed through the odd logic that dreams generate.
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Format: DVD
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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