The Hourglass Sanatorium. Film Review

DIRECTOR: Wojciech Has
SCREENPLAY: Wojciech Has
STARRING: Jan Nowicki, Tadeusz Kondrat, Mieczyslaw Voit
RUNNING TIME: 119 mins
FORMAT: Blu-ray

Reviewed by Guy Adams

As well as Has’ The Saragossa Manuscript, The Hourglass Sanatorium is brought to blu-ray this month by the wonderful Mr Bongo Films (I wish he were a real human being so he could be my very best friend). While the former movie kept a delicate toe in recognisable reality, The Hourglass Sanatorium forgoes such caution, dragging us entirely into its nightmarish world from the first frame.

When a young man visits a run-down sanatorium to visit his dead father (kept alive thanks to time being slowed-down within the hospital’s walls) he ends up wandering through its rooms, encountering surreal, and often disturbing, moments from his past.

A rich and sumptuous cinematic fever dream, The Hourglass Sanatorium almost suffocates the viewer in its layered, disturbing narrative. An absolute masterpiece of dislocation and imagination.