View Full Version : The Saragossa Manuscript

08-16-2015, 10:37 AM


This is a 1965 Pole film that is VERY fun and interesting to watch.

The plot is a mix of alchemy, picaresque, surrealism and comedy (in the style of the Decameron or the Canterbury Tales... though it also reminded me of the first chapters of the Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreuz).

The film has two parts, the first one is quite alchemical... the second part goes deeper into picaresque, surrealism and comedy.

The film is not an essay on alchemy in the way that Cyliani is; I don't think it tries to be accurate nor it is meant to give "accurate lessons"... BUT it is probably the best example I've seen of how alchemy becomes a "tale" or a plot/story. It is very clever in that sense.

A "boring art film"?
Not really... it is an art film, but it is certainly not boring at all. It is a 3 hours film, so you may like to watch the first part one day and the second part on a different day.

My bet is that you won't regret it.

The only bad thing is that the film follows an "alchemical plot" in the first part... and the process is not really finished and the second part mostly ignores it. This can be a bit disappointing, but the second part is also very fun, so you won't be cursing about it anyway.

The book by Potocki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Manuscript_Found_in_Saragossa (written in 1805) is also fantastic if you like books like the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili.
Though I've read it in Spanish and I suggest you to investigate different versions in your language before purchasing a copy (because the book has a terrible tradition of incomplete versions or "extracts" versions in many different languages... and it's always hateful to buy a book just to find that it's a shortened version). :)