The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser
Film Review


"Why is everything so hard for me? Why can one not play the piano like breathing?" Kaspar Hauser is a fascinating figure. The film is rife with symbolism that one may just as well pass by, as it is set to one side of the main story, and one can also just as well come back to it later. The original story is itself mysterious. The townspeople struggle to understand (and assimilate) Hauser, he struggles to understand them, but the viewer does not have to struggle through the film. The shooting is alternatively pointed and inquiring (as the "wonderful report" is worked up about the "strange man") or peering and gazing (like the townspeople do at Kaspar or Kaspar at the world). This all makes for curiousity and suspense, oddity, and several very poignant moments. The acting by the lead is particularly standout. There are some Hollywood films where a disadvantaged person is portrayed well-enough, and, while that does create sympathy, there is definitely a sense that the actor is playing down and making themselves into something less. In "The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser", we get a Kaspar that is quietly intense, lacks in conventional expressiveness, and yet has a noble and lofty spirit that strains to communicate through its human body. There is a naturalness to the performance that contrasts very well with the artificiality of the society Kaspar finds himself in. All-in-all, this is a very memorable film, recommended to those who like a good story and also to those who like to ask many questions about this life and what it means to be a human and a person in it.

4.5 / 5.0

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