During the 1800s, paroled Brazilian bandit Cobra Verde is sent to West Africa with a few troops to man an old Portuguese fort and to convince the local African ruler to resume the slave trade with Brazil.
Through examining Fini Straubinger, an old woman who has been deaf and blind since adolescence, and her work on behalf of other deaf and blind people, this film shows how the deaf and blind... See full summary »
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
When Bruno and Eva are driving to Railroad Flats, Herzog and the cameraman strapped themselves by their belts to the hood of the car while going down the freeway. They were stopped by police and avoided getting a ticket by telling the officer that they were just some "Kraut film students" and the officer let them go. The same officer stopped them again later that day for the same offense. See more »
Shadow on the car and Eva as she drives immediately after buying it. See more »
Say, I got something I want you to see. I want to give you a shot at a foxy beaver back here.
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This movie has been described as Herzog's take on the American Dream, and there is some overt USA bashing, but it is much more complex than that, as societies are not easily characterized. For instance, the gangster-pimps that terrorize and brutalize Bruno and Eva in Berlin are very much reflections of the Gestapo mentality and the feeling of being trapped and helpless in your own homeland. They are more fortunate than Nazi victims in the ease of their "escape" to America but unlike most of those refugees in the 30's and 40's, Bruno is unable to assimilate and contribute. He expects instant riches and does a little work for the horny hillbillies that give him a job but is still full of anger and paranoia. This is due primarily to his obvious faults, alcoholism and maybe paranoid schizophrenia, and not to the American system. All 3 of the German transplants are shown to be highly intelligent and cultured beyond the hellish railroad town they are plopped down into, and the obvious solution would have been for Bruno to seek employment as a musician, as he is very talented in that regard, but the dramatic arc of the story demands that he lose everything including Eva, and blame America and the insipid characters he is forced to deal with, and do something drastic, which he does. Eva knew that America is the same as every place: if you want a good life, you've got to work hard for it, using whatever tools & gifts you possess. But Bruno is too damaged to apply this principle, and this is the tragedy of "Stroszek" and of Bruno S.
The scene with the premature baby and the doctor is one of the greatest I've ever seen. It is just amazing, the character of that tiny infant, and shows Stroszek the fundamental power that he lacks, the tenacious nature of humanity to hold onto not only fellow human beings, but also to life itself.
The coin-operated live animals in the end represent not only cruelty and lack of compassion, but the obsessiveness of the American pursuit of entertainment. I personally felt more compassion for these creatures as victims of a system than I did for Bruno, who was pretty much doomed before he came to America.
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