The Hourglass Sanatorium (6/11)

“An adult ‘Alice in Wonderland’…an exploration of waking and dreaming, without the relief of an objective eye to distance the trip.” — The Quietus

As the roving camera enters deeper and deeper into a dilapidated labyrinth of nightmare sets on par with The Shining’s Overlook Hotel for sheer surreal splendor, Wojciech Has’s The Hourglass Sanatorium unfolds as a stunning, visionary reflection on the nature of time — one which makes Has’s previous Möbius-strip fairytale The Saragossa Manuscript look straightforward by comparison. Joseph (veteran Polish actor Jan Nowicki), woken by a blind Charon-like conductor on an uncomfortably evocative train full of Jews, is visiting his father in a strange, magnificently decrepit sanatorium. Once a bevy of scifi-ish timeslips start occurring, all conventional notions of linearity are out the window, in favour of an unsettling picaresque through memory and fantasy. This bewildering purgatory is replete with an invisible bureaucracy that arrests Joseph for his dreams, copious skulls, cobwebs, semi-sentient clockwork mannequins and women in various states of undress. A tour de force of atmospherics and winner of the ‘73 Jury Prize at Cannes, Hourglass mingles allegory, metaphor, the horror of the Shoah and the passing of a particular form of Jewish European culture, to produce a stunning head-trip of a movie. DJ Jon Puppo (KXLU’s “A Fistful Of Vinyl”) will be here to spin tunes before the show!
Dir. Wojciech Jerzy Has, 1973, DCP, 124 min.

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer from “The Hourglass Sanatorium”!