literature, cinema, fine arts

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

Fates from the density of new German cinema

no interval
  • Produced by Müpa Budapest
  • Müpa Film Club

Ticket prices

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The pivotal directors of what is known as new German film were Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders, Volker Schlöndorff and Werner Herzog. Regularly appearing in Herzog's films are fairy tales, beliefs and legends. Oh, and also the idea of obsession. If this film were to turn up on a streaming platform, it would certainly be labelled as being "based on a true story”, since Kaspar Hauser (1812-1833) actually existed, and the matter of his identity continues to preoccupy scholars and journalists alike, as it has also been suggested that the boy, who was held captive in a pit for 12 years, might have been a descendant of a grand ducal family.

Herzog was not particularly concerned with the mystery of Kaspar's identity. What interested him much more was the question of what the civilized world does with an untamed being, a "savage”. Does it accept him as an equal or would it rather see him as a bizarre spectacle in a circus freak show? So no one should be surprised that the questions asked by The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser are much more relevant to us, "normal" civilized people. And of course there also arises the question of what the models of the world created by the civilized, armed with knowledge, are capable of. In one scene, Kaspar, who can now speak and reason, is asked to solve a logic puzzle. And then he solves it - based on his own experiences, sense of perception and common sense. However, his teacher/discussion partner asserts that "logic is reasoning, not illustration.” And the question is closed. But what if it is not closed for Herzog? Nearly all of his films ask the question of what gives the civilized world its sense of superiority over savages, and what all this entitles the inhabitants of civilized worlds to do. Herzog might never have thought that his questions would become painfully relevant half a century later in a world where, despite our wise conclusions drawn from lies, we haven't got the faintest idea of what is happening on this earth.

In German, with Hungarian subtitles.
The discussions before and after the screening will be conducted in Hungarian.

Presented by: Müpa Budapest
  • director
    Werner Herzog
  • host
    András Réz

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