Monday, April 7, 2008

Tha Saragossa ghosta

Movie • THE SARAGOSSA MANUSCRIPT • 1965
I got to see this on the large screen this weekend. I’d never heard of it before, but it’s apparently a favorite of Martin Scorsese, Luis Buñuel, and Jerry Garcia. I was grateful to see it to say the least, but I can’t count it amongst my favorites. I don’t mind watching a 3 hour movie with subtitles, but The Saragossa Manuscript got awfully confusing.
It’s simple enough to follow at first. An officer finds a book in an abandoned building in the middle of a battle. He begins to read about a soldier who meets a couple of beautiful ghosts who claim to be related to him… but also want to marry him… both of them. Is it every man’s fantasy to marry two ghosts? The ghosts and all the other characters he meets tell him tales from the past to lead him to understanding his place in eternity, but that’s where it gets freaky and beyond. Each tale goes deeper by having characters that also must tell stories that begin in flashback style, but soon get so complicated themselves that you forget which story is being told by whom. It seemed convoluted for the sake of it. I imagine Jan Patocki’s novel reads the same without the humor that was injected into the film. The humor is what saved the film for me, by the way.
In the end, it all made sense… kind of, but it had to be the most convoluted ghost story I’ve ever heard. By the time you finished telling it the camp fire would have gone out, and there’d be no time for s’mores!

1 comment:

The Saragossa Manuscript said...

Perhaps this will help:

http://thesaragossamanuscript.info

Its a new site set up to accompany the release of Saragossa on DVD.

It really needs a bit of help and a couple of viewings and then... Bingo

Timjim (site creator)