Other movies

Stroszek, or the untold stories of emigration

Romance, with happy or unhappy ending, death, illness, broken family through divorce or lack of communication. These are the topics which are very often showed in the movies. Romance, especially with a twist like „La la Land” is what sells easily. Somehow everyone experienced love and all the other topics in some way or another.

However, there are many topics which are still uncovered by cinematographers. They await great writers, able to describe events and emotions which are hard to be expressed not only as an image. Emigration, immigration or migration, depending on how you look at it, is definitely one of such underestimated topics for a movie.

„Stroszek” tells a story of Bruno, who tries to find a new life after being released from a prison. He can’t find a way to fulfill himself in Germany so he agrees on his friend’s suggestion to emigrate to USA. It seems that he found his happiness. Although he doesn’t speak English, he gets a job and together with his friend, Eva, buys a mobile house. Soon, the life in a new country turns out to be the somehow the same like back then in Germany: they emigrated but the problems they had before followed them. He wasn’t happy in Germany but he wasn’t any happier now.

The movie deserves a much deeper analysis which I’m not going to give now as there’s something else I’d like to focus on: the perfection of how Werner Herzog showed problems of the emigrants. How very often they escape to other country thinking that over there they’re going to have a better life only to find out the painful truth: new country doesn’t mean new life, it’s you who need to be „fixed” first, not a place where you live. It’s only a top of the iceberg, there are many other stories of emigrants to be told and many emotions to be explained. The loneliness, experiencing the cultural differences not only in a host country but also back home or trying to understand other mentality.

Stroszek was released in 1977. 40 years later, people still experience the same problems of not being able to cope with emigration and almost no one is talking about it. Exceptions? Jonas Cuaron’s „Desierto” released in 2015 showed a story of a group of Mexicans who try to illegally cross the US border. „Almanya – Willkommen in Deutschland” on the other hand tells a story of a young Turkish man searching for a better life in Germany and kind of forcing his wife and children to follow him and settle in a foreign country. The first movie is a thriller aimed at 18 years old and above, the second one something between comedy and drama allowed to be seen already by children. Still, even though these two movies touch the topic of emigration, it’s incomparable with what Herzog is showing.

Hence the big surprise while watching Herzog’s „Stroszek” and wanting more movies like this one. More life stories of a simple people struggling with finding their own happiness. Abroad. Because there are already many stories about finding one’s happiness in general.

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