"Language bearers, photographers, diary makers. You with your memory are dead, frozen. Lost in a present that never stops passing. Here lives the incantation of matter. A language forever. Like a flame burning away the darkness, life is flesh on bone convulsing above the ground."
Begotten is a 1990 experimental Surreal Horror film written, produced and directed by E Elias Merhige. The film was shot entirely in black-and-white with no dialogue whatsoever. The plot, meanwhile, is an utterly nightmarish retelling of the Book of Genesis.
A (much shorter) Spiritual Sequel, Din of Celestial Birds, was released in 2006.
This film contains the following tropes:
- Based on a True Story: Kind of; it's based on a near-death experience the producer had when he was nineteen.
- Deliberately Monochrome: There isn't even a single shade of gray in the movie.
- Does Not Like Shoes: God, Mother Earth, and Son of Earth are barefoot throughout the whole movie.
- Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Pretty much the whole point of the movie.
- The Faceless: God and the nomads.
- God Is Dead: According to the credits, the man who disembowels himself in the opening is named "God killing himself".
- Gorn: The movie doesn't shy away from showing closeups of God's stomach wound while it gushes out blood and when Mother Earth is raped by the nomads.
- Hope Spot: After being killed by the nomads, Mother Earth's Son is resurrected by her. Then the nomads come back, then rape and kill her. Then other guys appear, take her corpse with them, dismember her, kill the son and dismember him too.
- Leitmotif: The closest thing to music this movie has is a hollow ambient whenever Mother Earth is present.
- Malevolent Masked Men: The nomads are masked.
- Mystical Pregnancy: Mother Earth arouses God's dead body and impregnates herself with his semen. Then she gives birth to an adult man after supposedly a short amount of time.
- Rule of Symbolism: This is the entire premise of the film. All the events happening in the film are meant to represent the events of the Genesis in the Bible, especially with Mother Earth impregnating herself with God's semen. (The latter is supposed to represent God impregnating the Virgin Mary with Jesus.)
- This film also follows the path of at least one arc of Egyptian mythology, with the above event being similar to the story of Isis impregnating herself using the fallen Osiris's penis and giving birth to Horus.
- Silence Is Golden: There is absolutely no dialog. You can hear some occasional noises.
- Starts with a Suicide: The film opens with God committing suicide.
- Surreal Horror: Begins with a disembowelment, ends with a double murder.