Jeder fur sich und Gott gegen alle

Jeder fur sich und Gott gegen alle

The enigma of Kaspar Hauser

DVD - 2001 | German
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Based on a real historical event, this is the story of Kaspar Hauser, a young man who appeared in a small German town in 1820 after having lived in total isolation from humans since birth. He is taught to speak, read, and write by the townspeople, but is then mysteriously murdered.
Publisher: Troy, MI : Anchor Bay Entertainment, c 2001
Edition: Widescreen
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (109 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in

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Mar 27, 2015

In 1828 a strange young man suddenly appeared in Nuremberg’s town square. Unkempt and barely able to walk or communicate beyond a few words, the only clue to “Kaspar’s” origin was a letter clutched in his hand describing his lifelong imprisonment in a dark cellar, and his spoken desire to be a “cavalry officer” like his father. At first intrigued, the locals soon grew tired of Kaspar until a wealthy benefactor took him under his wing and taught him not only to read and write, but speak his mind as well. The results were both astonishing and ultimately frustrating for Kaspar’s perceptions of the world around him turned out to be…unique…to say the least. Writer/director Werner Herzog takes a historical incident and proceeds to fashion it into a series of satirical barbs as an increasingly verbose Kaspar is treated first as a novelty, then a financial burden, a trained monkey, and finally a tragic protagonist. The focus of Herzog’s critical eye is not on the man himself however, but rather the effect his appearance has on the staid German society into which he is thrust. Pursued by petty bureaucrats and bourgeois gawkers Kaspar’s unschooled (and therefore wholly innocent) mind is unprepared for the contradictions and meaningless conventions he encounters—a revered professor testing Kaspar’s mental capacity with a “problem in logic” has the rug pulled out from under him when the supposed idiot savant counters the accepted solution with one of his own and a pair of pious ministers turn blue after Hauser casually points out the inanity of their beliefs. And, just to further confuse the local gentry, Kaspar rattles off a few non-sequiturs involving desert nomads and an alpine danse macabre as if they were enigmatic parables—“You must never tell a story unless you know how it ends” chides one woman. Using long takes and a soundtrack of classical chamber pieces, Herzog manages to keep his mordant sense of humour in check right up to the films amusingly ghoulish finale causing the chuckles, when they come, to be more self-conscious than we’d like. As an interesting aside, the life of lead actor Bruno S. was itself quite a sad enigma.

Jul 23, 2012

Didn't realize that this is based on a real person.


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