The Hourglass Sanatorium

1973 movie dream

Rating: 17/20

Plot: A guy takes a train to a sanatorium to visit his father and becomes trapped in a timeless dream.

I'd been wanting to see this for a while after enjoying Wojciech Has's The Saragossa Manuscript, and it definitely didn't disappoint. This is as drifting as movies can be, guiding the viewer through a labyrinth of surreal imagery and tantalizing but ultimately meaningless symbols and motifs that only make sense in wacky dream logic. The set design is the star of the show here as the character wanders through a M.C. Escher wet dream. The exploration of this sprawling, dilapidated mansion always surprises as the character runs into and odd assortment of characters, battle sequences, and mannequins. There's an incredible attention to detail with the sets, and you don't want to blink for fear that you'll miss some of it. It's one of the most beautifully dreamy movies I've ever seen.

I also loved the score by Polish composer Jerzy Maksymiuk, music that perfectly complimented the visuals.

In the end, I couldn't quite crack the riddle but loved the ride. There's quite a bit about the fluidity of time and the unreliability of memory. Both time and memory feels more elastic the older I get. This is one of those movies that a person could watch at different stages of their life and have it hit them in different ways.

I had some issues with the sound and subtitles, by the way. The sound was a little ahead of the visuals, and the subtitles were way behind which made the experience even more disorienting for what was already a disorienting movie. I don't think it affected my enjoyment, but I would love to see this again.

No comments: