The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (Werner Herzog, 1975)

What's it about? Based on the very odd true story of teenager Kaspar Hauser, who turned up in Nuremburg in 1828, hardly able to talk or walk and clutching a cryptic note, apparently having being unexposed to human contact for many years. Who the hell is he? 


Is it any good? No point watching this if you want to find out who Kaspar Hauser is. To this day, his origins remain unknown, despite many speculations. So without an answer to his enigma, Herzog instead uses the story to take sideswipes at religion, science and society, not to mention the meaningless futility of life in general. The general point he seems to be making is that if human activities were shown to a complete outsider, it would actually be the human race that would seem a bit odd. Which is a fine thing to aspire to, although this isn't the most polished film in the world, with pacing problems as it moves from intriguing to a bit boring and back again. It does have an ace up its sleeve, however, in the casting of Bruno S. as Kaspar. This is a man who had been in and out of mental institutions for years, an experience which drew Herzog to cast him as the stranger in a strange land in this film. At 41 years old, he was obviously too old to play the teenage Kaspar, but his affecting, off-kilter performance is the best thing in it. Elsewhere, Irish readers might be interested to hear it also features some footage of pilgrims climbing Croagh Patrick in Co. Mayo, something my folks have tried to get me to do for years. I won't be doing it now, because according to the film, Death is at the top. Cheery thought.

Anything else I should know? Let me guess - you want to know more about this Hauser character? Well, that's what Wikipedia is for - you can read all about him here. Fecked if I'm going to summarise it for you. Go on, leave me here, I know you're not going to bother watching the film or browse my site further. Don't know why I even bother - you humans are all mad.

What does the Fonz think? Odd.






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