The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser
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- Werner Herzog Bio
Top Customer Reviews
What makes The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser so compelling is not so much this man's biography. Rather it is Werner Herzog's exploration of the individual's role in society, especially when he has a personal history like Kaspar Hauser. Herzog looks at what would happen to such a person were he to interact with ordinary villagers, children, bureaucrats, clergymen, scientists and educators.
We discover over the course of the film that his perceptions would be different from their own. As he learns to walk, develop language skills, process logic, interpret dreams, understand the concept of God and perform piano solos, we realise what constitutes normalcy and civility according to society. We see man's incessant need to analyse, to explain, to classify and to codify that which is seemingly different than himself. More importantly, we see how individuality is broken and conformity becomes the norm. Not that all men are such cruel and intolerable ogres, Herzog lets us also see the tenderness and kindness humanity possesses.
Herzog's symbolism is quite subtle too. The abrupt cut to a still photograph and silence at the beginning is reflective of Kaspar Hauser's life.Read more ›
This is a great dvd, with a mildly informative biography of Herzog and (yay!) commentary from him.
The commentary is very worth listening to - more informative, I think, than the Criterion version's film essay would have been in this case. Herzog is a very interesting man with a very storied past, and this commentary explores that. Norman Hill - who shares the English track - seems to have been put there for the sole purpose of prompting Herzog into speech and gets grating after a while.
The movie itself is also wonderful - even if it feels at times to be missing Klaus Kinski, Herzog's lifelong friend and actor. This is due mainly to the way that Kaspar Hauser shares the feel of Herzog's more famous work, Aguirre - The Wrath of God. Many of the shots are the same: foggy landscapes shot through multiple lenses to disassociate the viewer from them, images of isolation on the water, and, of course, the controlled manner of speech which Bruno S. adopts for the film. There's even a moment where Bruno steps out in front of the camera in the very same fashion that Kinski invented for Aguirre.
A very worthwhile DVD, my only problem comes with the subtitles. While they seem (mostly - Herzog comments on one or two moments) to be adequate translations, they are at times unreadable. I'm not sure how escapable that is given that this is a colour film, but it seems Criterion have done an ample job on similar works. Cries and Whispers comes to mind. That one flaw, however, is minor and should in no way detract you from purchasing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Kaspar Hauser is fascinating. The film is rife with symbolism that one can just as well leave open. Indeed, the original story is itself mysterious. Read morePublished 4 months ago by rbrogan3
The real-life tale of Kaspar Hauser is one of the great unsolvable mysteries of the last two hundred centuries. Read morePublished on September 1, 2013 by Lightning Surfer
told with dignity, logic, keen perception, and sensitivity. The real life Kaspar was locked in a cellar the first 15 to 17 years of his life and abandoned in a strange town. Read morePublished on August 19, 2013 by mr. contrarian
for folks who like what werner herzog does, or tries to do, this is my favorite of them all ... and one of my 10 favorite movies of my time on the earth ... Read morePublished on June 30, 2013 by donald j von volkenburg
this movie is about as real as it gets...in this country today this kind of movie would'nt have a chance of being made... Read morePublished on October 20, 2012 by cycle666
Herzog is a bit of a challenge. Not in the sense that his movies are a bit too esoteric, but because they are both very deep and very superficial. Read morePublished on October 17, 2012 by Krzysztof Wolyniec
Reviewer "Angry Mofo" always provides an interesting critique of Herzog's films. He calls this one "closest to a failure" and among his criticisms is that "the film should have... Read morePublished on September 2, 2012 by A fellow with a keyboard
At the beginning of this film, our eyes are treated to lovely scenes of a small rowboat with a young male (perhaps the director? Read morePublished on February 23, 2012 by Lost in Siberia