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Directed by Werner Herzog
West Germany, 1977
Comedy, Drama
  • German
  • English, French
Werner Herzog: Ecstatic Fictions


Bruno Stroszek is a gentle but hard-drinking Berlin street musician who, after being released from prison, leaves Germany for the promise of a better life in Wisconsin with his hooker girlfriend and his odd friend. Once there, however, his American Dream quickly sours.

Our take

Reuniting with his Kaspar Hauser star Bruno S., Herzog shot on the fly what became one of his most beloved, masterful Ecstatic Fictions: a warped quest for survival in the land of the free, darkly comical, soulfully tragic, and capped with an unforgettably maniacal finale.

Stroszek Directed by Werner Herzog
Herzog of course is no stranger to films about psychosis and the manner in which a natural environment both creates and reflects the individual’s state of mind, but he forgoes his peripatetic style in this film; indeed, no road movie has ever seemed so static. Herzog trains his camera on vistas of nothing, taking in a temperate midwestern chill that is neither warm nor cold, as if even the weather feels it has no chance to be something in this kind of place.
April 02, 2015
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The Berliner Mauer in the heartland is a patch of land guarded by rival tractors with shotguns, there’s little difference for the outcasts, the blunt degradation back home is here doled out “politely, with a smile.” And yet there’s genuinely beguiled affection from Herzog toward these oddball Americans and their ribald limericks and auctioning lingo, so much so that the story can’t resist ending like a western, cowboy hat and barbershop robbery and all.
December 29, 2014
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Due to this normality… it basically stands alone in Herzog’s oeuvre. But this is Werner Herzog, and under this facade of ordinariness he reveals the everyday mysteries and peculiarities that make a mundane Wisconsin town in the late 1970s as alien as the Peruvian jungle and as contemporarily incongruous as 18th century Bavaria. And our heroes, this motley trio of pleasant outcasts, emerge to be as fascinating and as emotionally engaging as any of the mesmerizing individuals Herzog has filmed.
August 19, 2014
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