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ESTRANGEMENT IS DEATH (2002) | PLOT by Ryan Shriver, All Movie Guide: German filmmaker Miron Zownir turns his lens toward a nearly famous German actor from the 1970s with a history of mental problems in his biographical documentary Bruno S. - Die Fremde Ist Der Tod (Bruno S. - Estrangement Is Death). Bruno S. was plucked out of obscurity by director Werner Herzog to star in the filmmaker's breakthrough 1974 picture, The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser. The film became an international sensation, earning Herzog a Grand Jury prize from the Cannes Film Festival and Bruno S. many kudos for an emotionally raw performance that seemed destined to transform the actor into a cinematic legend. After starring in one more film for Herzog -- Stroszek (1977) -- Bruno S. never worked with the director or in the medium of film again until meeting with Zownir to produce this documentary. Painting and performing at various nightclubs throughout Berlin, Bruno S. uses both artistic mediums as a means to express his various emotional responses to the numerous obstacles he had to endure over the course of his troublesome life. Bruno S. was screened at the 2003 Berlin Film Festival as a selection in the Panorama Documentary schedule. Source & Copyright: New York Times
Stroszek (1977) | PLOT by Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide: Can anything be bleaker than the shabby slums of Berlin? Yes, argues director Werner Herzog in Stroszek: try Wisconsin sometime. Bruno S.. stars as an ex-mental patient who dreams of the so-called promised land of America. He aligns himself with like-minded prostitute Eva Mattes and elderly, near-senile Clemens Scheitz. Upon their arrival in Wisconsin, the three misfits find that they're just as trapped in Dairy Country as they'd been in Germany--if not more so. Amusing in a sour, bitter sort of way, Stroszek earned worldwide acclaim. Source & Copyright: New York Times
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1975) aka Every Man for Himself and God Against All | PLOT by Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide: German director Werner Herzog's internationally acclaimed "breakthrough" film is based on the famous story of mysterious 19th-century child genius Kasper Hauser. As played by Bruno S.., Hauser shows up unnannounced in the middle of a village square, frightening the populace with his bizarre behavior. He cannot talk, nor is there any indication of his parentage, thus Kaspar is immediately the object of close scrutiny from the authorities. When he finally does develop the power of speech, he reveals a highly advanced state of intelligence, as well as a seeming gift of prophecy. Upon Kaspar's death, the authorities determine that the lad was some sort of "idiot savant"--but the mystery of his origin is never solved. The winner of the 1975 Grand Jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Every Man For Himself and God Against All was originally released in Germany under the title Jeder Fur Sich Und Gott Gegen Alle.