Stroszek (1975)

Dir. Werner Herzog
Starring: Bruno S, Eva Mattes, Clemens Sheitz, etc.
115 minutes
(Roger Ebert)

7/10
Objectively this film may be better than a 7, but the score reflects my own personal enjoyment of the film. I would describe the film as a European Forrest Gump Gone are the fancy effects and editing and gone are the mainstream Hollywood sensibility: no cute portrayals of wisdom and miracles. This is a much more realistic film; less polished. Herzog has the tendency to put things in his film that he finds interesting, even though it’s not totally related to the story. This gives this film (and others I’ve seen) a choppy and more raw feel to his films. The narratives are not very tight, but he doesn’t seem to care about creating films with a really tight narrative. That’s partly what can make his films less accessible. Still, there are elements to recommend in this and other of his films.

**
The film gets points for several reasons. First and foremost, the “actor” Bruno S.–who plays a “holy fool” character. Someone who possess kindness despite being mistreated and a way of winning the audience’s sympathy. The remarkable thing is that Bruno S. seems to be like this in real life. The story Herzog tells about him is interesting in its own right and parallels the character’s story.

The other actors in the film are also interesting. Eva Mattes puts in a strong performance and Clemens Sheitz is another oddball character that is apparently not really acting.

Finally, Herzog uses images to convey and sum up his ideas and feelings in powerful ways.

(spoilers)

I read a post from IMDB on the movie from someone named Juanathan (”My Take on the Ending–Major Spoilers”). I thought it was a really good interpretation of the film. I kinda wished I did the work to analyze the film, but who knows if I would have came up with the same thing. Here’s the post:

I believe this ending was supposed to be Thanksgiving. There are many things that show it. Cherokee Indinas are present. Who can forget the frozen turkey that Bruno holds till his death(I interpreted that he killed himself)?One of the greatest American pastimes is having Thanksgiving and one of the greatest accomplishments is bringing home a turkey to your family to eat and you will all be happy. Stroszek has lost his so called family, Eva and Mr. Scheitz, for various reasons. I believe Bruno going up on the ski lift is forshadowing him going up to heaven and that the turkey is the American dream( IF YOU WORK HARD ENOUGH YOUR LIFE WILL BE PLEASURABLE). The only way he will achieve this dream is by killing himself and he will only be happy in death. I thought another sad truth in this film is that even though he moved from Germany to America and he still could not find happiness and that some people wherever they go in this world cannot fuction. As you see the truck burning and as the camera follows the smoke, it is almost completly in sync with how the ski left is going up the mountain bringing both Stroszek and the turkey (the American dream) to their death. I thought the animals were supposed to be mocking the American dream. You see all the animals doing their little jobs like they are supposed but they still get nowhere. I think the car going around in circles recalls a line from the beginning saying something along the lines how life goes around in cirlces and that if Stroszek got caught and thrown in jail his life would just go around in antoher circle. When the truck finally breaks down and goes on fire, he has refused to make his life go around in antoher circle.

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