Saturday, March 12, 2016

WOYZECK (1979)

Written & Directed By: Werner Herzog 
Based On The Play By: Georg Buchner 
Cinematography By: Jorg-Schmidt-Reitwein 
Editor: Beitman Mainka-Jellinghaus 

Cast: Klaus Kinski, Eva Mattes, Wolfgang Reichmann, Willy Semmelrogge, Paul Burian, Irm Herrman, Volker Pretchtel

Everything in town appears calm, placid, lovely. But Woyzeck, a rifleman assigned as an orderly, hears voices -- the times are out of joint, at least in his cosmos. To his captain, Woyzeck is a comic marvel: ignorant but courageous, full of energy to little purpose. To a local doctor, Woyzeck is a curiosity, the object of cruel study. Woyzeck, 40, has a young wife, Marie, and a small child. He dotes on them, but Marie, even though she has periods of guilt and remorse, carries on affairs and flirtations. When the captain lets drop broad hints of Woyzeck's being a cuckold, his inner demons and the voices of the spheres take over. Will madness bring action? Of what sort?

Klaus Kinski as usual goes above and beyond in his acting in this film. As we watch his character emotionally and sometimes physically get abused by his superiors. We also begin to see his sanity already ripped to shreds. His supposed only sanctuary is Marie his girlfriend. So that later when he finds out she is cheating on him. That is his breaking point. As she was like the only thing in his life, he feels he has any control over and learning of her infidelity. He decides to try to take back control. His only way it seems of fighting back is to torture her. As when he tries to attach superiors and other soldiers he is beaten down. One doesn't condone his behavior but the film at least gives insight to his reasoning and actions. So that they don't seem random. In what ultimately is a tragedy.

Director Werner Herzog also gives a humanity and reasoning for Marie's cheating by exposing us to her emotional landscape. A young mother who thought she was set. Having a child with a man of the armed forces. Yet he is rarely around and he is the laughing stock of his platoon, forces and the area hey live in. Barely bringing home any money of her own and lonely. As she mostly spends her days with her child. So when an impressive young man. A soldier of greater accomplishment me and closer to her age. Showers her with compliments and shows her attention. It is what makes her happy and feel good. Again. It condoning this behavior, but helping to give a texture of the situations.

I won't lie actress Eva Mattes is quite fetching in the role Of Marie. At first you feel angry at her for the infidelities as Woyzeck really seems to be trying his hardest and truly does love her. Yes she is selfish and she knows it and actually feels guilty, but she doesn't deserve what she gets.

For her the thrills are gone, doesn't feel for him the same way she once did. She wants excitement again. Like when she was being courted. Sure she feels guilty, but still doesn't stop and will defend herself against him verbally. Even if she fears him and feels sorry for him.

While this film is based on a play director Werner Herzog opens up the material with many locations and mostly interior scenes and shots. Yet manages to not make the film claustrophobic, but we can feel the noose tightening all over the situations.

Klaus Kinski began filming this after having only a week-long break after the completion of Nosferatu the Vampyre, also directed by Werner Herzog. Kinski exploited his exhaustion for his character in this film.

The film is not as graphic or epic as most of his other films. There is still and odyssey here on display. This time it is more of minute madness. Played out more emotionally this time, then necessarily visual.

The entire 80-minute film was shot with only 27 cuts. And was shot in 18 days

The film seems less about duty and training and more like bullying when it comes to his superiors. And he can't really fight back it get any justice.

Half the enjoyment of the film is how Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski working together and really component each other's work in style and substance. They are both firing on all cylinders in a smaller take for them. They both enliven the material like director Martin Scorsese and his muse Robert DeNiro. Only knowing Klaus Kinski's personal demons and the intensity he brought to his acting roles. No one can ever say he underplayed a character. Here he is in all his bi eyed glory and makes the film all the more richer for it.

Though truthfully even his superiors in the film seem a bit off and daffy themselves. I wonder if it is to keep the films atmosphere off center, add comedy or a certain light to the dark material. Enrich the madness of the film or keep scenes not between the main leads lively in a different way?

It is strange to see Kinski manhandled on screen. It's a little funny also, but considering the circumstances also sad. As if he seeks revenge. It should more be on the soldier who brags and laughs at him to his face, about the affair. So that it seems like the whole town knows and shakes their heads at him in disgust. As the one time he attempts revenge. He is humiliated. With his philosophical insight and lines consistently constant. You know his decent is rapid and accelerated.

Kinski even give his character a weird yet funny way of walking. If not so sad, this could have been a comedic character. Though the performance does allow to show his range.

Though strange, as her performance seems more supporting but holding her own with Kinski is an honor and noteworthy though her performance is softer, more understated and the main story does revolve around her character to seek resonance in. She seems to know a reckoning is coming but not believe a sudden or extreme.

It does have violence on a shocking note that seems to seek a gracefulness the can't overcome the brutality.

I am shocked, it is more open than I thought as watching MY BEST FIEND and knowing this is a theatrical piece. I originally thought it all took place mostly on one location: The Apartment. So I was pleasantly surprised, yet a little disappointed. As one can't imagine the power, intimacy and intensity of the situation and performance. When contained in a small space. It would be like dynamite waiting to go off and Explode.

This film is not my favorite of Herzog, but another classic to add to his collection and another one I am glad I finally discovered. Hopefully those of you who haven't seen it. enjoy it as much.

Though he directs the occasional feature. Ever since it seems the death of Kinski. They have lacked the power, off the wall psychology and beauty. They are passable, but it doesn't feel like he has as much strong passion and undying devotion to the material. So he has brought his talents and eye for visuals to making more documentaries. Where the strongest and strangest characters are real human beings. This seems to interest him more after all these years of creating and recreating drama and life. Now he documents it, while still Allowing audiences to see his view and he gets To express his compassion and beliefs on life and the subject at hand.

I always meant to catch this film. Though maybe the film ME EARL AND THE DYING GIRL. Inspired me to finally watch it and try to catch up on Herzog's other films. As he like domains filmmakers like Alejandro Jodorosky. Not only is a filmmaker but also a personality and has a vivid singular vision as a filmmaker. A true auteur. As no one else could it would probably make films like them. So that they are a rare delicacy. Not a meal more like a desert because. No matter how challenging the film might be and experimental. They are more like treats, might be hard to take or get used to their taste. But in the end are delicious and leave you feeling nice and full. Though you want more. So you savor their flavor and don't necessarily watch all the films at once. You stretch them out for that mood or moment where you feel you have earned or deserve that delicious, mouth watering gift to yourself.

Grade: B

No comments:

Post a Comment