The geologist Lance Hackett is employed by an Australian mining company to map the subsoil of a desert area covered with ant hills prior to a possible uranium extraction. His work is ... See full summary »
The feared bandit Cobra Verde (Klaus Kinski) is hired by a plantation owner to supervise his slaves. After the owner suspects Cobra Verde of consorting with his young daughters, the owner ... See full summary »
About the daring adventure of exploring rainforest canopy with a novel flying device-the Jungle Airship. Airship engineer Dr. Graham Dorrington embarks on a trip to the giant Kaieteur Falls... See full summary »
On Crete, a wounded German paratrooper named Stroszek is sent to the quiet city of Kos with his wife Nora, a Greek nurse, and two other soldiers recovering from minor wounds. Billeted in a ... See full summary »
German-American Dieter Dengler discusses his service as an American naval pilot in the Vietnam War. Dengler also revisits the sites of his capture and eventual escape from the hands of the Vietcong, recreating many events for the camera.
In the 1950s, an adolescent Werner Herzog was transfixed by a film performance of the young Klaus Kinski. Years later, they would share an apartment where, in an unabated, forty-eight-hour ... See full summary »
The film is based on the true story of Zishe Breitbart, a Jewish blacksmith's son from Poland who becomes a sensation in Weimar, Berlin as a mythical strongman. His employer Hanussen dreams of establishing an all-powerful Ministry of the Occult in Hitler's government. Yet as Hitler's hold on power grows more sure, and Berlin erupts in a ferment of anti-Semitism, Zishe must decide how he will use his strength. Plagued by nightmares, he takes counsel from a local rabbi. He becomes convinced that he has been chosen by God to warn his people of the grave danger they face. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
The actress Anna Gourari who plays the character Marta Faria is an actual world class pianist and plays all the pieces in the movie with out having to fake it at playing the piano. See more »
The Nazi stormtroopers in the film are frequently shown armed with rifles and pistols. However, in 1932 the Nazi movement was not yet in power and was considered simply another political party. Armed Nazis on the streets of Germany would have drawn immediate attention and would have been met with force by the police and military. See more »
Had potential but doesn't hang together like it should and has too many poor or average aspects
Zishe is a Jew living in Poland and working with his family as a blacksmith. When a fight breaks out in a local restaurant, Zishe uses his impressive strength to fend off his attackers but finds himself facing a bill for the damage. To make the money to cover the cost, Zishe enters a local circus to challenge the resident strongman. Easily winning, he draws the attention of a talent scout who offers him the chance for more work in Germany. Despite the reservations of his parents, Zishe travels to Berlin where he joins the high-class show of mystic Hanussen. Playing to mostly film stars and members of the ascending Nazi party, Zishe plays the role of an Aryan strongman. Initially happy to do so, the deception and denial of self gradually eats at him as he performs on stage.
I may not be the most cine-literate person in the world but I know enough to give any film from Werner Herzog a try to see what happens. With this film I was interested from the very start as it throws up an interesting "true" story that I had never heard before. It opens well but it only manages to hang together until the middle of the film, at which point the direction of the story starts to badly waver and, with a mostly amateur cast and some clunky dialogue, it cannot do anything to really turn it around. After a while it does become dull and rather aimless which was a shame given the potential that it showed early on. The problems of narrative will probably worry Herzog's fans less than the casual viewer though but what will surprise them is how visually ordinary it all is. It all looks good and has some nice use of locations but generally it lacks imagination or the flair for the unusual, with only the out-of-place use of the crabs sticking in the mind as an image.
The cast are mixed, with some good performances and some terrible ones. Ahola falls somewhere in the middle; he is not the most expressive man in the world but he has a good presence and his gentle strongman performance works for the majority it is only in the latter stages where more is asked of him where he comes up wanting. Roth is impressive of course and he does add a much needed professionalism into the film when given the chance. The rest of the cast are mostly average at best not a major problem but few people will defend the bland and flat deliveries of people like Gourari and Wein both of whom come over as if they would struggle to read a traffic sign in a convincing manner.
Overall this is an OK film at best starting with potential but fading away long before the end. The performances are mostly average but what is more surprising is that Herzog doesn't really make the film his own some of it looks interesting but it lacks the visual style that I had hoped for and it doesn't offer a great deal in its place.
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