The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (Werner Herzog, 1974) aka Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle [Everyone for Himself and God against All]

The true and mysterious story of Kaspar Hauser, a young man who suddenly appeared in Nuremberg in 1828, barely able to talk or walk, and bearing a strange note.

Bruno S[chleinstein].

I only allow myself one Herzog film in my top ten, and it is this or Aguirre the Wrath of God (Aguirre der Zorn Gottes, 1972). Actually, I think the earlier film is better, but this one has more universal themes.

Bruno S. was a non-actor who was handicapped by what happened to him in his miserable life. Herzog was able to use him to give a remarkable representation of a human being who has grown without access to society any kind.

Kaspar is subjected to various attempts at socialisation, notably that of a rather camp lord (why does he have an English name?) who gives up on his 'protégé'. The last words in the film are given to officialdom, in the person of the little man who is delighted that 'this will make a beautiful report'. So it does.

Garry Gillard | New: 24 March, 2017 | Now: 26 March, 2017