Just got to see a projection of this (along with Heart of Glass that was made the same year). I was led to believe before seeing this short, that it was another of Herzog's documentaries, but this isn't the case, is quite clearly staged action.
It tells the story of a young boy who is excluded from the rest of his classmates, the underlying reason for which is not made clear to start. He spends his time having to play in the corner of the classroom on his own, excluded from the group. The boy eventually befriends a girl in the class and invites her home to meet his talking pet raven. It is at this point that the boy's exclusion from the school group starts to become clear, as he reveals to his new friend the disruptive and abusive upbringing he has had to suffer at the hands of his parents.
Apart from the apparent underlying message (that there is no such thing as a problem child, only problem parents), what I found interesting about this short was the period of Herzog's cinematic development in which it was made. Having seen a fair number of Herzog's films, I would have assumed from the basic structure and production of this short, that it would have been one of the first shorts he committed to film. However, by 1976 when this was made he had already made a number of feature films (The Wrath of God, Even Dwarfs Started Small etc) and some highly respected documentaries (Land of Silence and Darkness that I recommended to anyone!). I quite enjoyed this little short, but to anyone interested in Herzog, go and see some of his great documentaries before seeing this.
As for the guinea pigs, I wont ruin that; you'll have to find out for yourself. It's bound to induce a few ahhhhs' in the audience though.
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