Thursday, June 7, 2007

Stroszek (1977)

Directed by Werner Herzog. Starring Bruno S., Eva Mattes, and Clemens Scheitz.

Werner Herzog's films often spotlight people who rush headlong into unfamiliar worlds, and for my money his best work is this, the story of a former mental patient, a prostitute, and a little old man who pool their resources and move from Germany to the United States. Herzog's lead actor, Bruno S., was a diagnosed schizophrenic, and what he lacks in polished acting technique he makes up for with his off-kilter screen presence. It's clear from the beginning that the trio's American adventure is doomed, but they forge on anyway, buying (then losing) a trailer, and trying to live out their version of the American dream until they can no longer do so. The final scenes of the film take the story to another level, as the three are cast to the winds, and Herzog follows Bruno as he makes his way to a rest area and the film introduces the famous dancing chicken. It's hard to say what it all means at times, but it's even harder to forget.

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