I watched Stroszek, but I'm not sure what I saw. Was it Werner Herzog's elaborate home movie about relatives who otherwise would never have been remembered? Was it a surreptitious documentary, secretly following a strange man--"Der Bruno Stroszek," "played" by one "Bruno S."--and a prostitute who travel with an old man interested in "animal magnetism"--the literal kind, if that makes sense--all of them tired out from Germany, hoping America is still the New World--but ending up in the worn-down frozen reaches of Wisconsin?--and isn't the country getting rustier, the edges raggedy, the trash always swirling at our ankles? It's as though "Keep America Beautiful" left with Lady Bird Johnson, and all we have left is these sad foreigners holding up the mirror to our threadbare nature--until we're the foreigners, like Valentine Michael Smith in Stranger in a Strange Land--except in reverse: Stroszek and Eva and Scheitz are not famous enough to become pawns, just marbles in a cigar box, tilted one way, then the other.
The movie is almost sad--but something about Stroszek's determination to be himself moves things--I almost wrote the word "transcendent" to describe what happens--but that word, too, is getting worn out these days, its shining teeth and clean breath in need of attention; so I'll forget the bigger world, out there beyond the Wisconsin tundra, and watch Stroszek and his frozen turkey ascend--not, in the end transcend--while dancing chickens and ducks and whatnot frenetically play him off.