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Germany 1979
Directed by
Werner Herzog
80 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars


Following on with barely a pause from Nosferatu the Vampyre, released earlier in the year Klaus Kinski and Werner Herzog began work on an adaptation of Georg Bucher's play 'Woyzeck'.

Set in the early 19th century the film is stylistically reminiscent of Herzog's 1974 work The Enigma Of Kaspar Hauser, (1974) with its other-worldly central character and creating as it does the image of a past that in its strangeness seems surreal.

A relatively slight film it is nevertheless intriguing with Kinski, still emaciated from the rigours of the Nosferatu shoot more subdued than usual but because of that very effective in portraying the mentally-crumbling, poor foot-soldier Woyzeck. Herzog adopts a suitably spare approach to the telling of the story, often making use of long-held, frontal views that keep the viewer a distant almost voyeuristic observer, a technique which reinforces our sense of Woyzeck's madness and estrangement.

FYI: Eva Mattes, who plays Wyzeck's prostitute mistress won Best Supporting Actress at Cannes for her work here.




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