Handicapped Future (TV Movie 1971) Poster

(1971 TV Movie)

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Decent Herzog
Michael_Elliott27 February 2008
Handicapped Future (1971)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Werner Herzog documentary that takes a look at handicapped children in German and how the government pretty much guarantees that they'll have no future whereas in America the laws allow the handicapped to live a full life. The documentary has a lot of interviews with the young children and their thoughts on the future are pretty depressing but overall the film is pretty boring because instead of learning anything we usually just sit there and watch the children play or learn. The documentary gets a refreshing start when we hit the USA and see how differently things are compared to Germany where the crippled are mainly put off by regular people.
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7/10
Slight, but moving
Leofwine_draca12 June 2015
HANDICAPPED FUTURE is another moving documentary focusing on the plight of the disabled in West Germany, made by auteur Werner Herzog. It's not as in depth as his film that dealt with the deafblind, the feature length LAND OF SILENCE AND DARKNESS, but it's nonetheless a story that packs a punch as the director explores the way that disabled children struggle to integrate into a modern society.

Most of the kids are Thalidomide victims and it's certainly distressing viewing watching their natural good-natured spirits combine with their overwhelming disability. Some scenes, like where a child draws tears on her self-portrait, are quietly distressing, and yet as always Herzog lets the subject matter tell the story, always refusing to condemn or preach. The latter stages of the documentary move to America, showing in contrast the life of a disabled man who's able to live a relatively normal life thanks to that country's support system. Food for thought for sure.
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6/10
Herzog on disability
Horst_In_Translation19 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This is a one-hour documentary movie by German writer and director Werner Herzog from Almost 45 years ago. However, the version I watched was only slightly under 45 minutes. It basically deals with a group of disabled children and how they master their everyday lives on their own and with the help of trained guardians. As the title implies, this movie is not only focused on the kids life today, but also on their prospects in the future and comes the conclusion that these are pretty bad unfortunately. I personally would be interested in seeing a documentary film from today to see how they developed now that they are probably all in their 50s. It's a decent early effort by Herzog, who was still in his 20s when this was made. We hear Herzog ask some of the questions and his voice back then sounded already pretty much like his voice today. However, he does not narrate this film. The late and prolific German actor Rolf Illig takes this job here. In the end, they show a good example of how a disabled child developed into a successful adult. It says a lot that he had to go to the United States for that. Then again, many disabled people were killed in Nazi Germany (30 years before this documentary), so there were maybe not too many people to pick from in Germany. All in all, it's a decent watch, not among Herzog's worst, but not among his best either. Recommended.
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6/10
The sin of segregating those with handicaps
dbborroughs2 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Werner Herzog co directed film about handicapped children in Germany in 1969. The point of the film is that the Germans don't want anything to do with the kids who are all but locked away. Even the fact that they are building special apartment blocks for the kids and their families is seen as segregation from the rest of society. Its a sad film in that the kids are clearly seen to be no different then normal kids, only with physical handicaps that reduce their mobility. Its a damning indictment of German society at the time especially when in the final minutes the film moves to America where we see a young man who moved to the US to get a college degree. He is a teacher and able to to go where and do what he wants thanks to an understanding society. Its a good film that that only suffers in retrospect since almost 40 years on we don't know how far Germany may or may not have come. (Its also eerie in that watching it it becomes very understandable how some of the Holocaust happened-the German's clearly wanted imperfection locked away.) 6.5 out of 10 because its dated in some ways.
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6/10
Interesting, if inessential, Herzog
Red-Barracuda21 January 2015
This early documentary from Werner Herzog looks at the way people with physical disabilities were treated in West Germany in the late 60's / early 70's. It compares this with the manner things were contrastingly done in the U.S.A. The findings conclude that the Americans were far more progressive than the Germans on this issue.

At the time, special buildings were built for disabled kids to live with their families. On the surface this seems good but these were, in effect, a means of hiding those unfortunate people away as much as an aid to assisting them. Bearing in mind the time period, it was only twenty odd years after the end of the Second World War; a period where Germany was ruled by the Nazi party, who actively pursued the extermination of disabled people whom they considered inferior. It seems like a little of this unpleasant sentiment still resided in the new Germany of the 70's. There are many interviews with the afflicted children. These are mainly pretty sad on account of the fact that they didn't really see any worthwhile future ahead of them, hence the title of the film.

As a documentary it works as a look back at a situation from another time. It's useful for this specific purpose but of course this specific issue has changed considerably over the years and, hence, this film is more of an interesting time capsule than anything essential.
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7/10
"Obstructed Future"
Krustallos8 April 2004
Worthwhile early documentary from Herzog exploring the different treatment accorded to the disabled in Germany and the USA. Given the then fairly recent history of Germany there are resonances in this film that will not have been lost on its original audience.

Certainly at the time the film was made disabled rights were decades ahead in the US; among other things this is a powerful and compassionate campaigning documentary.

See it with "Land of Silence and Darkness" if you can. The two films, made in the same year, share a lot and in fact I believe the making of the second flowed directly from the first.
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