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The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

Director: Werner Herzog

WEST GERMANY| 1974. SUBTITLED. COLOUR. 110 MIN.


One of Herzog’s most acclaimed films, this is an inspired interpretation of the true story of a young man who appeared on the streets of Nuremberg in 1828, having spent his entire 17 years in a dark cellar, virtually devoid of any human contact. Herzog’s masterstroke here is his casting of the extraordinary Bruno S., who himself spent many years in asylums and prisons. The effect is remarkable: Kaspar is presented as an alien being whose unique vision of things is beyond the understanding of 19th-century polite society. Kaspar is seen as a freak and ill-treated by the authorities. To Herzog, it is society that is deformed, not Kaspar, who responds to Nature and experience in a warm, vital, instinctive manner. Kaspar is the most endearing of Herzog’s outsiders, and Bruno S. plays him unforgettably.

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