An undisputed masterpiece of new German cinema

The mystery of Kasper Hauser had been one of the biggest enigmas in the history of Germany. A young man who appeared in the town square of Nuremberg one day in 1828 caused an uproar in the German society. The tumult continued much beyond his equally mysterious murder a few years later. The legend went on to become a favoured subject of many works of creativity, including cinema.

The celebrated German filmmaker Werner Herzog's 1974 work, `Every Man for Himself and God Against All / The Mystery of Kasper Hauser,' has been acclaimed as one of the undisputed masterpieces of New German Cinema.

In Herzog's film, the role of the enigmatic young man is presented by Bruno S, an equally enigmatic actor discovered by the director.

The young man was found to be brought up for his whole life from childhood in some kind of confinement, without the presence of another human being. He had no language or knowledge of the functioning of human society. After his discovery, he was at first placed in a makeshift room, actually a converted prison cell. Later, he was handed over to a circus group and exhibited as a piece for public entertainment. He was rescued from the circus by a professor, who tries to educate him on the ways of humanity.

As Kasper Hauser slowly learns the nuances of human language and social life, he starts raising questions, which are child-like in their clarity and straightforwardness. But coming from a man of his age, the questions are received with trepidation by the surrounding society. Especially his questions on religion and God.

They are seen as a threat or warning. The film had won the Special Award in Cannes in 1975, besides several Federal Film Prizes.

This masterpiece is being brought to Kochi city on Sunday by the Cochin Film Society. The screening will begin at 9 a.m. on Sunday at Savitha Theatre.

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