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Last Words (1968)

Letzte Worte (original title)
The story of a solitary man who refuses to leave a Greek island (at one time a leper colony) is told by a strange variety of characters who don't have much to say except to repeat their ... See full summary »

Director:

Werner Herzog

Writer:

Werner Herzog
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Cast

Credited cast:
Lefteris Daskalakis Lefteris Daskalakis
Antonis Papadakis Antonis Papadakis
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Storyline

The story of a solitary man who refuses to leave a Greek island (at one time a leper colony) is told by a strange variety of characters who don't have much to say except to repeat their tellings over and over again. But the person who has the final word on the matter, the lonely character himself, may not explain anything about his personal reasons for not abandoning the place. Written by Rodrigo Amaro

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Plot Keywords:

new german cinema | See All (1) »

Genres:

Short

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Details

Country:

West Germany

Language:

Greek | German

Release Date:

26 November 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Last Words See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The isolated island of Spinaloga was a former settlement of lepers (from 1903 to 1957), just as portrayed in this otherwise fictitious experimental short film. Today it can be visited by tourists. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Strange and absurdist early short from Herzog
1 May 2017 | by Red-BarracudaSee all my reviews

Last Words is a short film a young Werner Herzog shot and edited in three days, while he worked on his first feature film. Filmed in black and white this is a very early example of the pseudo-documentary with a format that takes the form of the talking heads style. In all honesty, when it began I wasn't too sure if it was fiction or fact, which sort of ties in with Herzog's later approach to film-making, where he never fully recognised the dividing line between documentary and fiction meaning that his documentaries often wilfully included fictional elements and the fiction movies often included documentary realism and non-actors. It has to be said though that Last Words increasingly reveals itself as an absurdist piece, with characters spouting dialogue repetitively for reasons that frankly eluded me. Whatever the case, this is the story of a man who is saved from a Greek island which once was host to a leper colony. He was the last survivor and now lives on the mainland working as a musician in a bar, while refusing to speak to anyone (although ironically he goes to great lengths to tell us that he is going to say nothing).

In fairness, this one is virtually plot-less. The short running time means that it is always going to be no more than a snap-shot of something rather than a fully-fledged story. It does have to be said though that, with its focus on a possibly insane outsider living on the fringes of society, this is a subject that Herzog would return to again and again throughout his career. So this is a very interesting early example of one of his major interests. While it has to be said that this is understandably a fairly limited film, it does have some interesting imagery, especially the scenes shot in the ghost town on the island. It also has some very lively musical interludes showcasing traditional Greek folk music played vigorously on lyre and bouzouki. So, while this one ultimately is pretty slight, it is interestingly bizarre enough to ensure it is pretty compelling for a short film.


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