DVD - Image A Sound A Commentary A
BD - Image B Sound A- Commentary A
starring Bruno S., Eva Mattes, Clemens Scheitz, Wilhelm von Homburg
written and directed by Werner Herzog
by Walter Chaw I love this film. I'm enthralled by it. And every time I revisit it, it has a new gift for me. Bruno S. plays the titular Stroszek, a street performer released from a two-year institutionalization and left to his own devices with hooker girlfriend Eva (Eva Mattes) and pal Mr. Scheitz (Clemens Scheitz). There's a transparency to the performances that transcends naturalism: you sense that the actors are not only playing themselves (more so than usual), but also that they're playing themselves as allegorical figures in a metaphor for their lives. It's Spider, but it's at once more and less expressionistic than David Cronenberg's film--and while the long, quiet, empty reaches of living in the giant abandoned warehouse of a mind in flux is a constant melancholy the two films share, there is something in Stroszek, crystallized in the haunting image of a premature baby pawing at its bedding, that does more to traumatize the human condition. When the film's heroic triumvirate flee Germany for the gilded shores of Wisconsin ("Everybody's rich there"), in a migration that reminds a little of Aguirre's doomed hunt for El Dorado, Stroszek is suddenly a picture about pilgrimage to a holy land that exists solely in the windy spaces conjured by the promise of westward expansion.