SPECTREFEST: Show & Tell w/ E. Elias Merhige featuring a rare 16mm print of Begotten & Din of Celestial Birds

Welcome to Cinefamily’s “Show & Tell,” a series inviting artists, filmmakers, musicians and other cultural heroes to divulge their deepest, darkest media obsessions by opening their closets, digging through their attics, and plundering their garages to curate an evening for your viewing pleasure!

Underground filmmaker, mystic, and genuine provocateur Elias Merhige has such a stockpile: ephemera and artifacts of his scientific, metaphysical, and aesthetic preoccupations past, present and future. From automatic drawings to photochemical experiments and ancient Zoroastrian texts, Merhige will give us a peek at the special alchemy that inspires him. Following the show & tell, we will be screening Begotten from Merhige’s own personal, rarely-seen 16mm print, flown in from Europe, along with his short film Din of Celestial Birds in 35mm.

Possibly the godfather of all cult films, Elias Merhige’s Begotten has long toiled in bootleg obscurity, only accessible through tenth-generation VHS copies or shoddy youtube video streams. Branded as a Rorschach test for the adventurous eye by film critic Richard Corliss, and “one of the then most important films of modern times,” by none other than Susan Sontag, Begotten is a seminal, powerhouse piece of experimental cinema,unfairly relegated to niche circles of film buffs and pure experience seekers.

Dir. E. Elias Merhige, 1990, 16mm, 72 min.
Dir. E. Elias Merhige, 2006, 35mm, 13 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!