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Stroszek (1977)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 12 January 1977 (USA)
In Berlin, an alcoholic man, recently released from prison, joins his elderly friend and a prostitute in a determined dream to leave Germany and seek a better life in Wisconsin.

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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Der Bruno Stroszek
Eva Mattes ...
Eva
Clemens Scheitz ...
Scheitz
...
Souteneur
Burkhard Driest ...
Souteneur
Clayton Szalpinski ...
Mechanic
Ely Rodriguez ...
Indian mechanic's helper
Alfred Edel ...
Jail headmaster
Scott McKain ...
Scott
Ralph Wade ...
Auctioneer
Michael Gahr ...
Prisoner Hoss
Vaclav Vojta ...
Doctor
Yuecsel Topcuguerler ...
Turk prisoner
Pit Bedewitz ...
Souteneur
Bob Evans ...
Bob Evans
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Storyline

Bruno Stroszek is released from prison and warned to stop drinking. He has few skills and fewer expectations: with a glockenspiel and an accordion, he ekes out a living as a street musician. He befriends Eva, a prostitute down on her luck. After they are harried and beaten by the thugs who have been Eva's pimps, they join Bruno's neighbor, Scheitz, an elderly eccentric, when he leaves Germany to live in Wisconsin. In that winter bound, barren prairie, Bruno works as a mechanic, Eva as a waitress. They buy a trailer. Then, bills mount, the bank threatens to repossess the trailer, Eva wants privacy, and inexorably, the promise of a new life deserts Bruno. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

12 January 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Stroszek  »

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1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It is claimed that the late post-punk vocalist Ian Curtis (of Joy Division) watched this film just before his suicide. It can be seen before Curtis' suicide scenes in the movies 24 Hour Party People (2002) and Control (2007). The musician Elliott Smith (1969-2003) described himself as a fan of Bruno S. and Stroszek (1977), too. Just like Ian Curtis, he committed suicide later. See more »

Goofs

Shadow on the car and Eva as she drives immediately after buying it. See more »

Quotes

Eva: Well, taking a boat to New York and Florida... Isn't there a park there? What's it called? Where the bears run around free?
Der Bruno Stroszek: That's the Grizzlies.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

On the Way Down to Phoenix
Written and Performed by Chet Atkins
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User Reviews

A treat for Herzog fans
23 January 2002 | by (Chicago, Illinois, USA) – See all my reviews

I just had the opportunity to see Werner Herzog's "Stroszek" for the first time in its new DVD edition. It's certainly a bleak scenario, but I'm not so sure it was meant to be as critical of the United States as many viewers both here and abroad suppose. In his commentary for this film, it seems to me that Herzog plays down that aspect of it. He expresses a strong affection for the typical Americans seen in the film -- non-actors who just happened to be on the scene and were prevailed-upon to more-or-less portray themselves. The unfortunate protagonist of the film, played by longtime Herzog protégé Bruno S., leaves for America with his friends to escape a brutal and oppressive existence in Berlin. While misfortune comes to them in a different guise in America, it's hardly more barbaric or degrading than their lives in Berlin. To me it suggests that human nature is the same everywhere, and the weak are always preyed-upon. Bruno and his companions are just innocent enough to believe the old legend that in America the streets are paved with gold.

The running commentary that Herzog has recorded for the recent DVDs of his films are among the most interesting and engaging I've heard, and they're one of the reasons I especially appreciate the DVD medium. That's not to say that he lets the literal-minded viewer off the hook by providing handy explanations for every peculiar image or bit of dialog. When asked what a certain image or phrase signifies, he will sometimes simply say that he cannot explain it. But I find it fascinating to watch a scene, and then scan back and listen to his comments about the location, actors, technical details, and yes, even sometimes the intended effect of a puzzling image. Many of the people seen in his films are non-actors, people he simply ran into, found interesting, and intuitively knew would be effective on film. Some of the players in Herzog's films are the very people that most directors would chase from their set with security guards, but he sees something interesting in them, and finds a way to tap into it. I can't help liking the man for that. Some people have suggested that his use of the unfortunate Bruno S. as a film actor amounted to some sort of exploitation. But it seems to me that his befriending of Bruno, and his artful and patient use of him as a film actor, must have given Bruno some sense of the dignity and worth as a unique human being that was denied him for most of his life. If this means nothing to you, and you don't know anything about Bruno S., the commentary tracks on either "Stroszek" or "The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser" explain his background nicely. It's a remarkable story.

If you're unfamiliar with Herzog's work, he has done some especially exotic films with the volatile actor Klaus Kinski. "Cobra Verde" is a particular favorite of mine. But his films do not have the relentless pace or hyperactive editing typical of mainstream American films. They are unforgiving of those with short attention-spans, so be forewarned.


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