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Germany 1977
Directed by
Werner Herzog
115 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4.5 stars


Herzog’s extempore film-making style hits paydirt with this marvellous account of a man released from a mental institution in Berlin. Bruno S., who had starred in Herzog’s The Enigma Of Kaspar Hauser (1974) once again takes the lead and the film is part fiction, part documentary as Herzog makes the most of the unique qualities of Bruno, in real life the child of a prostitute and the victim of prolonged abuse who was incarcerated for most of his early life.

Herzog’s script has Bruno team up with Eva (Eva Mattes) a prostitute who is physically abused by her brutal pimp and an old man (Clemens Scheitz, another oddball who had also appeared in Kaspar Hauser) who has relatives in Wisconsin and the three head off to the Land Of Hope and Glory.

The twin themes of social marginality and the American Dream which are so regularly seen in Herzog films are here felicitously married in a gem of offbeat cinema with Thomas Mauch doing an excellent job behind the camera.

FYI: With typical Herzogian humour, Bruno, Eva and Mr Scheitz set up their trailer home in Plainfields, Wisconsin, the hometown of Ed Gein, the serial killer whose activities were the inspiration for Hitchcock’s Psycho.




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