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The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974)

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser poster.jpg

Werner Herzog has made films so extraordinary as to practically represent a genre unto themselves and this may be his greatest. The (more or less true) story of a man found in Germany in 1828 who has never known anyone properly and been kept in a cellar is a universal tale of profound wisdom (credited to the director but Jakob Wassermann also contributed to the screenplay). Herzog had spotted Bruno S in a documentary and would work with him again in Stroszek. He was mentally disabled and had been the subject of Nazi experiments. He bought himself a piano with the proceeds of his work and died in 2010. This is simply, truly told. The music is aptly chosen (Pachelbel), the animals with which Kaspar communes are part of the fabric of nature which seeps through the storytelling. The photography involved the use of Super 8, telephoto lenses and the re-photographing of some sequences on 35mm, with the speeds altered (cinematography is by Jorg Schmidt-Reitwein).  It is a splendid dream of a life.

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About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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