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15 September 2017: The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser


The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser
Werner Herzog
1974 | 110 min | Colour | Digital

“Reminiscent of Truffaut’s The Wild Child in theme but decidedly darker in its conclusions, Herzog’s film opens in Nuremberg in 1828, where a grown man is found catatonic in the town square. He is Kaspar Hauser, the ultimate Herzogian outsider: without speech, reason, or memory, and without human contact since childhood. Initially treated as a curiosity, he is gradually educated in the ways of Western civilization. But his initiation into the mysteries of language, logic, and religion only drives him to despair. The film’s visual style (odd angles, awkward compositions, unusual lighting) conveys Kaspar’s perceptual disorientation, an estrangement heightened by the inspired casting of Bruno S. – a former schizophrenic who spent many years in institutions.” – San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Part of our season on Werner Herzog