Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle) (1974)

Director: Werner Herzog. Cast: Bruno S., Walter Ladengast, Brigitte Mira. 110 min. West Germany. History/Drama.

My Herzog obssession continues. Young Kaspar Hauser suddenly appeared in the Nuremberg town square in 1828, with a letter in hand and barely able to speak. Wikipedia's account of the mystery is incongruous with that of Herzog's, as Hauser was described as a "pathological swindler". But Herzog doesn't care. He uses the mystery to show when a virginal mind is confronted with the hardcore beliefs of a society, it can offer completely different theories for the same observations, and not be too far off. Makes you think: is there any concept ingrained in our brains not derived from the environment?

PS: The movie's original title translates Every Man for Himself and God Against All.

Mo says:


  1. Agree with your points . i liked the movie and i think Herzog beautifully described such significant confrontation between society and such pure and untouched mind .I mean we saw all range of people in society involved in this case ,including kind and nice people who wanted to take care of him and help him to learn and survive,while there was individuals who make fun of him and a number people who care about him just because as a data for their study or proving their theory and get a result in their research and finnaly there was an unknown enemy whose identity and his reasons for torturing such pure mind ,imprison him for 20 years and finally such devil attampt for injuring him is unreleaved for audience totally at all.Beside of such pov of people mentioned before, we have perspective of Kasper to the life with some words like : The dark cell was better than outside or " Whar are women good for ? or that story showing that a blind man is more capable to see and has owned bright vision to all facts than normal healthy people.
    The title translation is great!, religon and some beliefs about GOD, Church, priest and pray were under question too if i felt right.

  2. One of Kaspar's interpretations that impressed me the most, was when he said a room is bigger than a tower, because you can see a room on all four sides around you, but you can see a tower only on one side in front of you! Incredible analysis!

    Or his answer to the riddle, which was about a "Man-frog" and completely made sense, but just because it didn't fit to everyday logic, it was rejected.

  3. I loved this film a friend lent it to me as part of a Herzog boxed set. It was funny and touching and tragic.
    The set also contained the most disturbing movie I have ever seen, Even Dwarfs Started Small. I was sickened by this vile picture, even thinking of it now makes me feel nervous.

  4. A disturbing Herzog movie is right up my alley. My search for "Even Dwarfs Started Small" starts now.

  5. Be warned it does contain scenes of real animal cruelty and just plain creepiness.

  6. The Herzog movie that's creeped me out the most so far was "Grizzly Man". Let's see how this compares.

  7. I was warned not to watch it but of course that made me all the more determined to. You have been warned but I suspect like me you will still watch it. Maybe I'm just over sensitive?

  8. It's the effect of the forbidden fruit! Telling one not to eat it is "specifically" asking them to do so.


    About the sensitivity issue, I'll just have to watch it and see.

  9. It was years ago I watched it and I will never watch it again. It's a powerful movie and a testament to Herzog's powers. No other film I have ever seen comes close to making me feel like that and I hope never will.