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Lebenszeichen (1968)

A wounded German paratrooper named Stroszek is sent to the quiet island of Kos with his wife Nora, a Greek nurse, and two other soldiers recovering from minor wounds. Billeted in a decaying... See full summary »

Director:

Werner Herzog

Writers:

Werner Herzog (screenplay), Achim von Arnim (inspired by the short story 'Der tolle Invalide auf dem Fort Ratonneau')
Reviews
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Peter Brogle ... Stroszek
Wolfgang Reichmann Wolfgang Reichmann ... Meinhard
Athina Zacharopoulou Athina Zacharopoulou ... Nora
Wolfgang von Ungern-Sternberg Wolfgang von Ungern-Sternberg ... Becker
Wolfgang Stumpf Wolfgang Stumpf ... Captain
Henry van Lyck ... Lieutenant
Julio Pinheiro ... Gypsy
Florian Fricke Florian Fricke ... Pianist
Heinz Usener Heinz Usener ... Doctor
Achmed Hafiz Achmed Hafiz ... Greek resident
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jannakis Frasakis Jannakis Frasakis
Eleni Katerinaki Eleni Katerinaki
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Storyline

A wounded German paratrooper named Stroszek is sent to the quiet island of Kos with his wife Nora, a Greek nurse, and two other soldiers recovering from minor wounds. Billeted in a decaying fortress, they guard a munitions depot. There's little to do: Becker, a classicist, translates inscriptions on ancient tablets found in the fortress, Meinhart devises traps for cockroaches, Nora helps Stroszek make fireworks using gunpowder from grenades in the depot. Slowly, in the heat and torpor, Stroszek goes mad, drives the others from the fortress, and threatens the city with blowing up the depot. With care, the German command must figure out how to get him down. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

West Germany

Language:

German | Greek

Release Date:

9 December 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Signs of Life See more »

Filming Locations:

Kos, Greece See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

DEM 25,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The screenplay is based on a story by (Ludwig) Achim von Arnim, which he wrote in 1818 and is called "Der tolle Invalide auf dem Fort Ratonneau" (The Mad Invalid at Fort Rattoneau). Until 1997 it was the only story written by Arnim that was previously translated into English. See more »

Quotes

Young Child: Now that I can talk, what shall I say?
See more »

Connections

Featured in I Am My Films - A Portrait of Werner Herzog (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Werner Herzog's First Feature Film: A Masterpiece
29 July 2003 | by BloodfordraculaSee all my reviews

Signs of Life is Werner Herzog's very first feature film and also one of his best. The script may have even inspired Stephen King's novel The Shining. In Signs of Life we have an injured soldier and his wife working as the caretakers of a military fortress on a Greek island. The soldier eventually goes mad with boredom and tries to kill his wife and everyone else.

Werner Herzog wrote the award winning script in 1964 and made the film in 1967 with only $20,000 at age twenty-five with a stolen 35mm movie camera. Herzog's script is amazing and all of the actors perform flawlessly. Signs of Life has great photography and a great use of Greek music and has Herzog's distinctive slow pace which may seem like torture to the average viewer who's been forced-fed a steady diet of fast food images.


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