7.7/10
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19 user 28 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:

(as Wojciech J. Has)

Writers:

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Józef
Tadeusz Kondrat ... Jakub - Józef's father
... Józef's mother
... Adela
... Dr. Gotard
... Blind Conductor
... Bianka
... Szloma
... Fireman
Seweryn Dalecki ... Teodor
Julian Jabczynski ... Dignitary
... Mr. de Voss
Wiktor Sadecki ... Dignitary
Janina Sokolowska ... Nurse
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:

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Details

Official Sites:

Mr Bongo Films

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Language:

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Release Date:

12 December 1973 (Poland)  »

Also Known As:

The Hourglass Sanatorium  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 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

 
wonderful -vi ew if the collective unconscious
13 March 2018 | by See all my reviews

Insert trying to insert but t can't in this new fat format alex Viewed at the Lodz film school this turned out to be a one-of-a-kind masterpiece known in Polish as "Sanatorium pod Klepsdydra", or in English as "Sanatorium under the Hourglass". In Poland the hourglass, which marks time by allowing sand to sift one grain at a time from an upper chamber to a lower one through a narrow opening, is associated symbolically with the sands of human life running out, and is often seen as a symbol accompanying obituary reports. The film is based on a highly symbolic novel, dealing among other things with the death of Jewish culture in Poland -- written by the Polish-Jewish writer, Bruno Schulz, who was murdered by the Gestapo in WW II. While literary adaptations are quite common in Poland, this bizarre Schulz tale was long considered to be so abstract as to be unfilmable. Has not only found the images and the narrative style to bring Schultz's words to the screen, but in the process created a film that is so spectacular that it out-Fellinies Fellini in "Juliet of the Spirits" - in short, one of the most amazing films I have ever seen. "Klepsydra", one of the most extraordnary films ever made in Poland, is about a middle aged man who comes to visit the sanatorium where his aged father has recently passed away and there encounters the father's ghost who leads him through a series of personal and philosophical revelations as they move from room to room in the gloriously cluttered premises. Cobwebs and junk are everywhere, but this is the debris of the collective unconscious. Early in the picture the bemused visitor - played by handsome actor Jan Nowicki, who radiates a bit of the aura of a Polish Paul Newman -- dons a golden fireman's helmet which he then wears throughout, an odd touch which we soon accept as par for the course in these fantastically colorful surrealistic surroundings. Towards the end of the film the man finds himself wandering through the dreamy streets of a resurrected Jewish village and is swept up in a traditional public celebration of some kind which is going on all around him. This is presumably a reference to writer Schulz's own Jewish childhood in Drohobycz, but in Has' film it becomes a mystical epitaph for the entire Jewish culture of Poland which was ruthlessly eradicated during World War II. The entire atmosphere of the film is dreamlike -at times a little nightmarish -but never off-putting, because Has' narrative style keeps things flowing and the visuals are so lush that the eye is constantly delighted. All-in-all a unique, dazzling, and thought-provoking motion picture


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