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
Shadow on the car and Eva as she drives immediately after buying it. See more »
Der Bruno Stroszek:
Bruno was so stupid, stupid, stupid to have done this in the first place, to have come to America, where my whole world is collapsing again. I might as well have stayed where I came from. No. No. No. I'm really pessimistic about all this.
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Admittedly, I was hooked from start go by Werner Herzog's Stroszek. This film's weird and unpredictable rhythm intoxicated me. From its arresting images (reflections from a hanging glass bottle) to the hypnotic sounds (Chet Atkins' guitar strumming languidly along a highway), these cinematic hallmarks of the great Werner Herzog flooded Stroszek mysteriously, unobtrusively and most of all, very lovingly.
Strange enough, the kitschy surreality of this film's music (a good example will be that iced lake radar search sequence) reminds me strongly of those 70's Classic Taiwanese "Beach" Dramas. You know, the kind where a pair of arms-outstretched love birds would run in slomo towards each other via opposite ends of a sandy seashore? I know, the cultural reference may be lost to non-Chinese readers and I apologise. But yes, this flick stirs and stimulates my free associative imagination with wild and insane glee. I kid you not, people. I kid you not.
However, major credits need be given to the lucidity and forceful presence of one Bruno S.
Sample below quote.
The Bruno to Eva: "And now comes the question. All my friends waited for me, but this is my best friend....my "Black Friend"(a piano). What's going to happen to my friend when Bruno goes dead someday? Where are these things and these instruments going to end up? What's going to happen to them. Someone must answer this for me." (And then, they just stared at each other, throughout and after.....)
Above affecting sequence punctuated the bittersweet vulnerability of one Bruno S. As a simple, slightly challenged man-child, Bruno had very limited human relationships all his life. As such, he guilelessly transfers his genuine feelings onto "placebo" objects. But despite of his checkered past (years of physical abuse and institutional upbringing), this socially inadequate man ably exudes generosity, kindness and unguarded honesty. Given half a chance, he will just as likely shower his unconditional love onto those whom he cares for, namely Eva. (As was shown in one scene set to the haunting tinkles of Moonlight Sonata). All in, Bruno is thus an exceptionally good man. But will there yet be more to this Bruno than meet the eyes? I dunno....
Throughout this film, I am captivated by Bruno's earnest glow; so refreshingly tender and devoid of artifice. In reaction to his search for meaning in life, love and other myriad mysteries (like "birds confiscators" or "speed-talking" men - don't ask.), Bruno's expressive face never lies. I felt immensely privileged to share in his bliss (or despair) at any given points in time. This fascinating creature tugged at my strings more often in this movie than the combined twitches of so many affected actors out there. I friggin' love this charming dude and hence, I cannot help but root for the guy. You go, Bruno!
Like the best of Herzog's works, Stroszek boasts of many scratch head-worthy moments. (Especially considering my having seen the Enigma of "Heart of Glass".) But these pecularities only serve to propel my viewing experience into mystical realms. For buried within its seemingly artful surfaces, lies aching balms of "cinematic capsules". They will randomly burst and engulf the inclined and willing. They will seep into one's consciousness and never let you go. I hence don't think I can ever erase the wonderous memories of those stolen moments already, from "Peddling Sabine" to "Infant Gymnastics", from "Not 4, but 5" to "$32". Most infamously, how can I not mention that "Dancing Chicken"? Brilliant!
At this point, I will like to urge all to venture forth into Herzog's film universe. For if you're willing, or foolhardy enough to take that plunge, you may yet discover a film like Stroszek to be ceaselessly beautiful and effortlessly moving.
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