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Hourglass Sanatorium & Saragossa Manuscript Restored Editions
Manish Agarwal , March 19th, 2012 08:32

Polish cult classics reissued by Mr Bongo today!

It's apt that 1973's The Hourglass Sanatorium (pictured) should be among the first Polish films to be restored in high definition for a new DVD release this week (the process was overseen by cinematographer Witold Sobocinski). Inspired by Jewish author Bruno Schulz's pre-war short stories, its concise synopsis - man visits father at mental institution, finds that time is behaving oddly - barely prepares you for the vivid phantasmagoria which director Wojciech Has delivers.

Also getting an upgrade is Has' playful 1965 epic The Saragossa Manuscript (trailer below), beloved of Martin Scorsese, David Lynch and Francis Ford Coppola among others. Arguably the zenith of story within a story plotting, this progressive adaptation (see/hear the risqué tone and early Krzysztof Penderecki score) of a novel by explorer Jan Potocki uses the titular document's discovery during the Napoleonic Wars to frame intertwined tales populated by Moorish princesses, picaresque adventurers and the Spanish Inquisition.

Check the Mr Bongo website for information on both titles and be sure to read Lee Arizuno's 2009 Quietus feature, which examines the surrealist visions of Wojciech Has in-depth.