Wojciech Has’ cinematic universe of Byzantine sets, hallucinatory images and galleries of grotesque characters is brought to life in his psychedelic masterpiece The Hourglass Sanatorium.
Set in the pre-World War II era, a young man named Joseph (Jan Nowicki) visits a strange dilapidated Sanatorium to see his dying father Jakob (Tadeusz Konrat). Upon arrival he finds a hospital crumbling into ruin, where time is slowed down in order to maintain his father’s life signs. Joseph must venture through the many rooms of the sanatorium, each filled with sinister worlds conjured from his memories, dreams and nightmares…
Adapted from a collection of short stories by Polish-Jewish writer Bruno Schulz, and funded by the Polish Arts Council, the 1973 Polish film dispenses with traditional narrative, fashioning an audiovisual mosaic that blurs the line between reality and fantasy. Truly mind-blowing
The Hourglass Sanatorium is now available in a restored version on Blu-ray from Mr Bongo Films.
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