Watching this third Herzog film I must say that Herzog’s heroes are like directionless hermits. Herzog repeated unprofessional actor Bruno S. again after their appreciable teaming in ‘Kasper Hauser’ and teamwork again proves the magic. Bruno is again social outsider here like ‘Kasper Hauser’. In initial scene we come to witness his releasing from prison. He loves just two things in life- playing musical instruments and drinking beer. But soon he realized that life in Germany is full of hardships and brutal one, so along with his prostitute girlfriend Eva and an old neighbor they thought about starting new life in America-the land of opportunities. For them America is an unexplored mystery or a dream of freedom.
But soon disillusionment starts unsettling them in hostile land and they realized that life is severe and brutal everywhere and perhaps it’s more severe wasteland in America. Remembering the great visionary American poet T S Elliot his ‘The waste land’ here.
Bruno and Eva are physically safe in America and there is no local hoodlum who’s kicking them in their hometown but still Bruno is so unhappy. As Bruno explains to Eva in one of the scene that in Germany it was visible but here they do it so gentle way, and that’s much worse than it seems. That invisible chaos seems economical on surface but it’s deeper at mental & spiritual level. Only Bruno understands it and that’s lead us to that brutally dark ending part.
I’ve never seen final ten minutes in any movies as symbolically represented chaos of life as in this one. It is just a phenomenon. Those dancing/ piano playing birds, a shot in ropeway and circularly moving trolley will remain permanently imprinted to my senses. I became bit sleepy while watching it yesterday and miss the brilliant clue by Herzog in that final scene. I watch that scene again today prior to writing this post and it was Eureka moment. It is that line written on the backside of that ropeway vehicle in which Bruno sat last. IS IT REALLY ME! The clue signifies the futility of both driverless revolving trolley and trained performing birds. But for Bruno life itself is futile and he knew it damn well. That final scene was just something that you get from auteur like Herzog only!
Salute to this genius filmmaker.