June 5th, 1991



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This gory and entirely visual film tells the surreal tale of the death and rebirth of gods.

Release Year: 1990

Rating: 6.1/10 (3,212 voted)

Director: E. Elias Merhige

Stars: Brian Salzberg, Donna Dempsey, Stephen Charles Barry

God disembowels himself with a straight razor. The spirit-like Mother Earth emerges, venturing into a bleak, barren landscape. Twitching and cowering, the Son Of Earth is set upon by faceless cannibals.

Brian Salzberg - God Killing Himself
Donna Dempsey - Mother Earth
Stephen Charles Barry - Son Of Earth - Flesh On Bone
James Gandia -
Daniel Harkins -
Michael Phillips -
Erik Slavin -
Arthur Streeter -
Adolfo Vargas -
Garfield White -


Official Website: World Artists |

Release Date: 5 June 1991

Filming Locations: New York, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $33,000 (estimated)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Approximately eight to ten hours of optical work - re-photographing, visual treatments, and filtering - was required to produce one minute of film. The total postproduction period for the 78-minute movie was eight months.

User Review

This is not entertainment. This is disentertainment.

Rating: 8/10

I saw 'Begotten' last night, and I'm of two minds on the film.

On one hand, I appreciate it for being the total invert of a Michael Bay film. No dialogue, extremely stylized grainy B&W photography, some of the most genuinely horrific imagery ever set to film, and a very compelling use of sound (which nobody else seems to have really picked up on yet). It's a reflection on a theme, and it dares go where most filmmakers do not not only in terms of images, but of production and concept. It's a movie that most people don't understand, and if you read through these comments you'll find a lot of people whose lack of ability to figure this film out results in them shrieking about 'pretentiousness' with the fervor of a gibbon rattling the bars of its cage at feeding time. It genuinely shocked and disturbed me, and the last time a film managed to do that was a while ago.

On the other, this is a thirty-minute short that sprawls out to over an hour and a half. I understand that there might be artistic merit in using repetition and monolithic pacing as a bludgeon, but in this case it just doesn't help everything hang together. Imagine being approached by a ragged man on the street who grabys you by the shoulders and says something that completely confounds the core of your being... but then, instead of leaving your shattered and gibbering in his wake, he just keeps talking and talking and talking. By the end of the movie, I found myself glancing at my watch now and again.

This is not entertainment, people. This is disentertainment. This is how you deprogram people who just watched "Glitter." If you watch movies to be entertained, this will frustrate, confound, and possibly anger you. You don't approach 'Begotten' like a chocolate cake you want to eat because it tastes good. You approach it like something on the menu you have never heard of before, something you see furtive glances of through the kitchen door, something that's dark and glistens and twitches on its platter; something you order not because it will taste good, but because you just have to know what it's like.


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