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Germany 1968
Directed by
Werner Herzog
90 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Signs Of Life

Werner Herzog’s first film, already demonstrating an individual and self-confident film-maker, is a low key story of a German soldier, Stroszek (Peter Brogle), during the German occupation of Greece towards the end of WW2. He is wounded and sent to the island of Kos with two other rehabilitating soldiers to guard a disused munitions dumps. Estranged from everything around him and possibly suffering from combat trauma, Stroszek has a mental breakdown.

Manifesting many of the characteristics of Herzog’s later films, in particularly with the fraught relationship between physical and psychological isolation the film, with its equally characteristic ad hoc approach to narrative development, will probably be more rewarding for those familiar with Herzog’s work (and in particular Woyzeck, 1976) than anyone looking for a plot-driven story. Shot in black and white and his first collaboration with cinematographer, Thomas Mauch, the landscape is, as always with Herzog, an important component of the film with a scene of massed windmills being a memorable scene.

DVD Extras: Available as part of Umbrella Entertainment’s excellent 6 disc collection of early Herzog films that includes Even Dwarves Started Small, The Enigma Of Kaspar Hauser, Heart Of Glass, Stroszek and Where the Green Ants Dream. All the films have informative commentaries by Herzog with Norman Hill and Crispin Glover and the set includes ab illustrated booklet about the films including a Herzog biography.

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment




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