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The Hourglass Sanatorium (1973)
"Sanatorium pod klepsydra" (original title)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 1,316 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 21 critic

Set in pre- World War II era. A young man is on a strange train to see his dying father in a sanatorium. But the place is going to ruin and recalls a lot of memories from the past. He is ... See full summary »

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(as Wojciech J. Has)

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Title: The Hourglass Sanatorium (1973)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jan Nowicki ...
Józef
Tadeusz Kondrat ...
Jakub - Józef's father
Irena Orska ...
Józef's mother
Halina Kowalska ...
Adela
Gustaw Holoubek ...
Dr. Gotard
Mieczyslaw Voit ...
Blind Conductor
Bozena Adamek ...
Bianka
Ludwik Benoit ...
Szloma
Henryk Boukolowski ...
Fireman
Seweryn Dalecki ...
Teodor
Julian Jabczynski ...
Dignitary
Jerzy Przybylski ...
Mr. de Voss
Wiktor Sadecki ...
Dignitary
Janina Sokolowska ...
Nurse
Wojciech Standello ...
Jew Interlocutor in Restaurant
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Storyline

Set in pre- World War II era. A young man is on a strange train to see his dying father in a sanatorium. But the place is going to ruin and recalls a lot of memories from the past. He is beset by soldiers from the past, colonial black mercenaries, girls from his early life, and his parents. It is an interior adventure, with unusual atmospheric flair and extraordinary sets. Written by Polish Cinema Database <http://info.fuw.edu.pl/Filmy/>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

train | soldier | memory | bird | fog | See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

12 December 1973 (Poland)  »

Also Known As:

The Hourglass Sanatorium  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Wojciech Has worked on this project for five years. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Macabre Kaleidoscope
5 August 2003 | by (San Francisco, California, USA) – See all my reviews

The late Polish director Wojceich Has is better known for his amazing "The Saragosa Manuscript" which has a Chinese box structure of nested stories. However, this film (known to english audiences as "The Sandglass"), tops its predecessor in fantastic imagery. Based on several stories of Bruno Schultz, this film might be the most successful recreation of the inner psyche ever commited to celluloid.

A man journeys by dilapidated train (where most of the passengers look like corpses) to visit his ailing father who is kept in a crumbling ornate sanatorium. He is told by a doctor that time exists differently there and his dying father may recover. The man experiences a flood of dreamlike visions of his past and the small Jewish town he was raised in. The father is seen both ill and as a giddy philosopher in an attic full of birds. At some point we get the creeping sensation that it is the man himself who is dying, not the father as a blind train conductor reappears like a death figure. The increasingly baroque episodes become the rich compost of a graveyard.

The film can also been seen as a requiem for the Eastern European Jewish culture that was wiped out by WW2. It isn't an accident that the protagonist is named Joseph and his father Jacob. Many of the films episodes evoke Jewish symbolism.


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