Werner Herzog Pauline Kael - Essay

Pauline Kael

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[In "The Mystery of Kaspar Hauser"] Werner Herzog has achieved a visionary, overcast style. The higgledy-piggledy pink and blue roofs of the town of Dinkelsbühl … suggest the world of a German primitive painter, or of an awkward, self-taught puppeteer who has gone a little haywire. The gentle farmlands have something ominous hovering in the atmosphere, and even normal domestic scenes are airless and oppressive. The estrangement is poignant. Herzog's images look off-balance, crooked, as if the cameraman were wincing; there are distances, large vistas, but the perspectives aren't inviting. The universe is enclosed in an invisible hand. Caught in that grip, nobody seems warmblooded; everyone is alone, immobilized,...

(The entire section is 942 words.)