Auch Zwerge haben klein angefangen
DVD - Image A Sound B+ Commentary A
BD - Image A- Sound B+ Commentary A
starring Helmut Döring, Gerd Gickel, Paul Glauer, Erna Gschwendtner
written and directed by Werner Herzog
by Walter Chaw Even Dwarfs Started Small opens with a disquieting montage featuring a young girl rending live birds with her teeth that also culminates in the image of a chicken eating another chicken (shades of Magritte's 1927 painting "Pleasure"). Both actions speak to a sort of insensate savagery, the divorce between the Freudian Id and Ego so favoured by the surrealists--and in setting the film in a fictitious place populated entirely by the little people of the title, it touches on the surrealist belief that non-Western civilizations were closer to an undifferentiated nature. The story proper concerns the uprising of a "Prisoner"-like colony against an ineffectual, Kafkaesque godhead (Pepi Hermine) and the Institution he represents. Rebelling against the imprisonment of leader Pepe (Gerd Gickel, tied to a chair throughout), the rebels devolve from a semi-organized protest into bedlam, crucifying monkeys, organizing cockfights, and, in one of the most hopeless conclusions in film, watching as rebel leader Hombre (Helmut Döring) laughs until he chokes at the sight of a defecating camel.