1979. Germany. Directed by Werner Herzog. With Klaus Kinski, Eva Mattes, Wolfgang Reichmann.
At what point do we regard the conditions of an individual’s existence, rather than the individual himself, as responsible for his actions, regardless of how heinous these may become?
Werner Herzog - the enigmatic filmmaker central to New German Cinema - addresses this question in his 1979 filmic adaptation of Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck (written 1837-1838), one of the earliest German plays to bring poverty and misery onto the stage.
Herzog’s often-mesmerizing drama follows the relationship of Franz Woyzeck (Klaus Kinski) and Marie (Eva Braun) the fates of whom are cast into uncertainty by the former’s psychological suffering. Woyzeck’s hypnotic madness is the film’s object of study; grotesque figures from the surrounding milieu torment and abuse Woyzeck as he is driven ever deeper into thoughts and visions which plague and, ultimately, consume him: ‘Have you ever seen any double nature, Doctor? When the sun was high at noon as if the world’s on fire… a frightful voice spoke to me...’
Join Columbia University’s Deutsches Haus Film Faction for the third showcase as we continue our series of “VERFILMUNGEN, ” filmic adaptations of literary pieces. A short talk and discussion will follow the screening.
Woyzeck will be shown in German with English subtitles.
Screenings by the Film Faction are free and open to the public. Sponsored by Deutsches Haus Columbia & The Department of Germanic Languages.