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Film / Stroszek

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Werner Herzog film about street musician Bruno Stroszek and his friends. Bruno, Scheitz and Eva are down on their luck. They move to Wisconsin to escape Eva's abusive pimps. Unfortunately, they aren't quite able to make it in America.

Stroszek has examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: Bruno's alcoholism is the source of many of his problems.
  • All Devouring Black Hole Loan Sharks: Actually, ordinary bank workers just doing their jobs. Scott, the bank representative who pays periodic visits to Bruno, Scheitz, and Eva doesn't actually want to repossess their trailer and TV, but they keep falling behind on the payments, so he eventually has no choice.
  • As Himself: Bruno Stroszek is basically a thinly veiled version of his actor Bruno Schleinstein. Most of the other actors with the exception of Eva Mattes qualify as well.
  • Author Appeal: Inverted. The ending makes a little bit more sense if you know that director Werner Herzog has a crippling fear of chickens.
  • Ax-Crazy: The pimps whom Eva owes money to are violent lunatics who delight in beating and humiliating their victims.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Scheitz and Bruno. But especially Scheitz.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Bruno grew up in an Orphanage of Fear run by the Nazis where the boys were subjected to beatings and public humiliation. No wonder he's an alcoholic who's spent most of his life in and out of jail.
  • DIY Dentistry: In one scene, Scheitz' nephew Clayton removes one of his own teeth with a pair of pliers and spends the next minute or so spitting up blood.
  • Downer Ending: Eva leaves Bruno for a couple of truckers bound for Vancouver, his trailer is auctioned off by the bank, Scheitz is arrested for armed robbery of a barber shop, and when Bruno runs out of money on a reservation in North Carolina, he commits suicide by gunshot in a tourist trap.
  • Eagle Land: Ultimately averted. The Power Trio's relationships with America as a place and Americans as a people are complicated.
  • Flyover Country: The trio settles in an especially bleak part of Wisconsin.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Turns out Wisconsin sucks.
  • Gainax Ending: After being a slow drama for an entire film, the ending centers on a chicken dancing to Sonny Terry.
  • Kick the Dog: The bank auction of Bruno's trailer as he sadly watches even if there is no intended malice on the banks end.
  • Language Barrier: Eva is the only one of the main trio who speaks English. Once she heads to Vancouver with a couple of truckers, neither Bruno nor Scheitz understand the bank representative's explanation of their increasingly dire financial situation.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: The playful melody of the song Bruno sings is at odds with the often downbeat lyrics.
  • Motor Mouth: The auctioneer who oversees the sale of the main trio's re-possessed trailer, true to form for his profession, speaks so quickly that even native English speakers will have trouble keeping up.note 
  • Nostalgic Musicbox: An actual one, and the sounds of them.
  • Non-Actor Vehicle: There are few professional actors in the movie.
  • Orphanage of Fear: Bruno grew up in one run by the Nazis. He tells Eva that anyone who wet their bed had to hold up their sheets in the courtyard to dry instead of putting them on a washing line, and if their arms weakened so that they dropped the wet sheets, they were beaten savagely.
  • Regional Riff: Chet Atkins starts playing as the Power Trio gets used to America.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: Bruno, probably literally.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: Not so bad as some films, but it isn't accidental that the alcoholic Bruno sings a song about a woman who is exploited by an alcoholic.
  • Talent Double: Averted since Bruno was an accomplished street musician by the time.