Welcome to Unforgettable Scenes, a weekly series that looks at one scene from a movie that really leaves a lasting impression of greatness on its own. This week’s scene is the final ten-minute sequence of insanity and brilliance that closes Werner Herzog’s masterwork Stroszek.
Writing this, it has been less than an hour since I first saw Stroszek, so for me to go straight ahead and write an Unforgettable Scenes post about its ending must mean it left a hell of an impact, right? Well it did. The last ten minutes of Stroszek is just indescribable, and whether you’ve seen the film or not, to see this one scene is to have your mind completely blown. It is unlike any other scene in any other movie.
The scene shows Bruno, the lead character of the film, as he No, wait. I’m not even going to try and describe it. The ending is a collage of images and sound, music and film, that turns what is already a very good movie into a stellar, transcendant work of art. You might not agree, and you wouldn’t be alone there either. Many others have criticised it and spoken vehemently about their contempt towards it. And that’s understandable. It deviates completely away from the plot of the movie and makes absolutely no sense at all. But isn’t it just strangely thrilling to watch? And after all the constrained chaos that has come before it in the film, isn’t it like a burst of relieving energy, the pent-up rage of the previous 100 minutes finally let loose?
I think that’s precisely what it is, and I can’t imagine the film ending any other way and being as satisfying. This post would have been longer if I had gone into specifics about the scene, but I refuse to do it. The only way to judge the scene and understand it is to watch it, and think about it for yourself. Very few directors would have had the guts and heart to do what Herzog did to the end of this movie, and I applaud him for it. He is the mad genius of the cinema.
Watch the scene below: