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The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

Kaspar Hauser - Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle

Directed by Werner Herzog
West Germany, 1974
Drama, Biography
  • German
  • English, Danish, Finnish, French, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish
Werner Herzog: Ecstatic Fictions

Synopsis

Kaspar Hauser lives locked in a cellar, where he cannot see or speak to anyone. One day, a mysterious man pulls him out, teaches him to walk and talk, and then leaves him in the middle of a town square with a letter in his hand addressed to the authorities. Kaspar’s journey begins…

Our take

Aguirre may be more famous, but many Herzogians hold up Kaspar Hauser as their favorite. Starring Bruno S., a wayward Berlin street musician recruited for the role, the film is quintessential Herzog: a beautiful, tartly comic look at mankind dropped into a large, confusing, wondrous world.

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser Directed by Werner Herzog

Critics reviews

[Herzog’s] critical blade sharpens especially in the scenes when Kaspar—who, according to the authorities, has to earn his keep—is turned into freak providing entertainment. The dictatorship of meaning is combined with the totalitarian regime of money. Cultural violence, motivated by economy, manifests itself by making Hauser—“the other”—a fetish for visual consumption. The uniqueness of Kaspar is quickly transformed into a commodity—ready and easy to monetize.
June 10, 2014
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A work somehow both doggedly nihilistic and profoundly humanistic, the greatest unofficial Frankenstein movie, an ode to the misshapen brain that can hear “the horrible screaming men call silence.”
May 28, 2013
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