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Kinski and Eva Mattes in the apocalyptic climax of WOYZECK.


Ultimately, it is the incandescent force of Kinski’s performance and the warm, luminous contrast pro- vided by Mattes that elevate an otherwise minor film to major status. This is also in some ways Herzog’s most Fassbinder-like film, partly due to its more-than-usually stagebound style of storytell- ing, but also because it demonstrates the debt of so many Fassbinder projects to Büchner’s inspira- tional text. The murder of Marie in particular is filmed in such a way as to foreshadow the murder of Mietze (whom her lover Hans Bieberkopf calls “Marie”) in BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ, which Fassbinder would film in 1980.


The 1.66:1 feature is rendered with DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono for the Shout! Factory re- lease (called German stereo in the notes), while BFI gives it two German audio tracks, one in LPCM 1.0 mono and another in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The BFI release also includes another vintage Herzog commentary moderated by Norman Hill, inexplicably omitted from the US release. However, exclusive to the Shout! Factory set is “In Conversa- tion—Werner Herzog & Laurens Straub” (58m 56s), which plays over a remarkable production shot from the filming of WOYZECK. Because the track is a native language conversation rather than a Q&A performed in a secondary language, it is more vital in substance and intellectual engagement than the actual commentaries accompanying STROSZEK and NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE, and while it


doesn’t stick exclusively to the production of WOYZECK, it more than fulfills what we would have wanted from such a commentary. In addition to discussing the challenges of working with Kinski, the nature of the film’s pictorial compositions (in which Woyzeck himself often appears dwarfed by the world around him), and a marvelous recounting of the night the film’s big murder scene was filmed, this conversation is a vital addition to this set in terms of charting Herzog’s state of mind in the wake of completing HEART OF GLASS and his reasons for undertaking his next three films. In addition to a German theatrical trailer (3m 16s, also on the US release) and stills gallery (2m 29s), the BFI disc of WOYZECK is supplemented with three short films: “Handicapped Future” (43m 43s), “The Great Ec- stasy of Woodcarver Stein” (45m 41s), and “Huie’s Sermon” (41m 48s).


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In our next issue, this article will continue with a close examination of Herzog’s NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE—which, in a fact somehow overlooked


by other recent reviews of the Blu-ray, exists in three different versions, not two: the German version, the shorter English version shown in theaters here and abroad and later released on VHS, and a second English version that has quietly erased the exist- ence of that earlier cut from view, and which runs even longer than the German version!


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