The Saragossa Manuscript (6/2)

“I saw the film three times, which, in my case, is absolutely exceptional.” — Luis Buñuel

Coppola, Scorsese, von Trier and Lynch have all publicly proclaimed their love for this sprawling meditation on the very essence of storytelling — and it’s easy to see why, for The Saragossa Manuscript is truly a “filmmaker’s film.” It’s a joyful Polish version of a Russian doll, an interlocking dose of meta-meta-narrative: during the Napoleonic Wars, two enemy soldiers stumble across a captivating book that tells of an earlier soldier’s trip down a magical realism rabbit hole. Inside that story, another flashback is told and so on, until the viewer is on an intertwining helix of absurd and whimsical proportions. Director Wojciech Has revels in the grounded Gothic iconography at hand (supernatural gypsies, potions drunk from skulls, mysterious lynchings, Satanic panic) while emotionally lifting the viewer one more layer off the ground with each passing step through this mystic, mythic and miraculous Möbius strip.
Dir. Wojciech Jerzy Has, 1965, DCP, 185 min.

Watch the trailer for “The Saragossa Manuscript”!