7.6/10
3,564
24 user 33 critic

The Hourglass Sanatorium (1973)

Sanatorium pod Klepsydra (original title)
Józef visits his dying father at a remote mental institution, where time itself doesn't seem to exist, and the line between dreams and memories becomes indistinguishable.

Director:

Wojciech Has (as Wojciech J. Has)

Writers:

Wojciech Has (as Wojciech J. Has), Bruno Schulz (story "Santorium pod Klepsydra")
Reviews
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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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 Seweryn Dalecki ... Teodor
Julian Jabczynski Julian Jabczynski ... Dignitary
Jerzy Przybylski ... Mr. de Voss
Wiktor Sadecki ... Dignitary
Janina Sokolowska Janina Sokolowska ... Nurse
Wojciech Standello Wojciech Standello ... Jew Interlocutor in Restaurant
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Storyline

The film depicts its protagonist, Joseph (Jan Nowicki), traveling through a dream-like world, taking a dilapidated train to visit his dying father in a sanatorium. When he arrives at the hospital, he finds the entire facility is going to ruin and no one seems to be in charge, or even caring for the patients. Time appears to behave in unpredictable ways, reanimating the past in an elaborate artificial caprice. Written by Mr Bongo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite the communist authorities' ban on the film, it was in secret sent to Cannes in film cans with false inscriptions on them. Because of this incident, Has couldn't make any movie for the next 8 years. See more »

User Reviews

 
A beautiful puzzle that's complex and highly thought provoking!
25 May 2006 | by NateManDSee all my reviews

Did I watch this film or did I dream it. This may be your initial response after watching "the Hourglass Sanatorium". Those who are fans of Fellini, Jodorowsky, Peter Greenaway and Andrej Zulawski will feel right at home. Originally the film was based on a novel, and the story deals with a man who takes a train to see his sick father at a sanatorium. The sanatorium feels Gothic and abandoned. Time seems to be non existent there. Since time has slowed down the father goes on living and the son gets lost in the many rooms of the sanatorium. His journey is as comical as it is frightening. Memories and history become reality and the main character walks throughout many strange scenarios from the past and from his childhood. A simple action like crawling under a bed, can transfer him to a different time and place. Among the strange images in the film which are the most breathtaking are, the Jewish Rabbis breaking out into a song number, people who are part human and part wax figures, dead zombie like soldiers, people in strange bird masks, elephants, and odd philosophical discussions. This is one movie that is so complex and confusing that if you miss 1 minute (or even if you don't miss anything) you'll feel lost. After the film was over, I was left scratching my head; it was like I had just woken up from a bizarre dream. This is one of the most breathtakingly surreal film experiences I have ever had. Film is a visual art, so words can't come close to describing "the Hourglass Sanitorium". You have to see it for yourself!


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Details

Official Sites:

Mr Bongo Films

Country:

Poland

Language:

Polish | Yiddish | Hebrew | Latin

Release Date:

12 December 1973 (Poland) See more »

Also Known As:

The Hourglass Sanatorium See more »

Filming Locations:

Drohiczyn, Podlaskie, Poland See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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