Stroszek by Werner Herzog


Stroszek by Werner Herzog

I insist on telling my young and insecure film-loving friends that if what they want is to make movies, and financial issues are a problem, then they can easily avoid film school, and put that money into a first film. For the schooling, there is no better film education (and life education) than watching and enjoying films.

I point them to Herzog movies for motivation. This here is a perfect example.

You may have heard of the story. The one of the film I mean. An eccentric autist, a prostitute, and an old man decide to escape the boredom of their everyday lives by going to Wisconsin, USA. You may also have heard of the story behind the main actor, Bruno S., a street musician and amateur painter, who was severly beaten as a child, and placed in a mental institution for 23 years. Or you may have heard the story behind the filming of the film, a quick and improvised project by Herzog as a favor to Bruno whom he had promised to cast in another film but then couldn’t so he decided to make this film with him instead.

That’s it. Those three stories are inextricably weaved together, and they play out simultaneously as you watch. The execution is vintage Herzog. His camera serves him, never the story. So his soul is injected in all his projects. Gladly, he is one of the few interesting people in the world.

If you are familiar with his work, this is one of his best exercises in truth/fiction bends. His belief is that cinema is a unique and mysterious tool that can penetrate some unearthed ‘truth’. He credits himself for having come up with the term ‘ecstatic truth’ for this.

He may not be as clever as he thinks, in fact, all he does is follow his intuition. But what intuition! And this is the rhythm to all his movies. You can see how he goes to places, how he moves in to shoot, not his camera, but him.

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Categories: Notes

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