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The Saragossa Manuscript

You wouldn’t expect a rip-roaring widescreen Napoleonic adventure crammed with duels, damsels and cryptic manuscripts to be the favourite film of the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia. But this is actually one of the great 1960s ‘headtrips’ – an adaptation of Count Jan Potocki’s legendarily labyrinthine novel into a bewildering but exhilarating lattice of stories within stories within stories.

Wojciech Has’ adaptation of Polish novelist Jan Potocki’s magnum opus became a major countercultural favourite during the 1960s. Despite its length and the slippery challenge of its storytelling, The Saragossa Manuscript is largely a light-hearted work, laden with warm comedy, ribald drama, Gothic atmospherics and unforgettable imagery.