Friday, February 2, 2018
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser
Discussant: Susan Scheftel Ph.D.
In 1828, an adolescent boy appeared in the town square in Nuremberg, Germany, clutching a bible in one hand, and in the other, a letter introducing him as Kaspar Hauser. The boy had spent his entire life chained to the floor in an underground dark dungeon, devoid of all human and even animate interaction. His food was left for him while he slept. He had only a small toy horse for company. He was then taken by a nameless, unidentified man, to the town square and abandoned. Based on a true story, this masterful film was created and directed by the renowned German director Werner Herzog, among whose many feature films are: Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972), Stroszek (1977), N
“Werner Herzog’s films do not depend on “acting” in the conventional sense. He is most content when he finds an actor who embodies the essence of a character, and he studies that essence with a fascinated intensity…In Herzog, the line between fact and fiction is a shifting one. He cares not for accuracy but for effect, for a transcendent ecstasy. Kaspar Hauser tells its story not as a narrative about its hero, but as a mosaic of striking behavior and images…The last thing Herzog is interested in is “solving” this lonely man’s mystery. It is the mystery that attracts him.” Roger Ebert, 2007.
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