PLOT by Ryan Shriver, All Movie Guide: German filmmaker Miron Zownir turns his lens toward a nearly famous German actor from the 1970s with a history of mental problems in his biographical documentary Bruno S. - Die Fremde Ist Der Tod (Bruno S. - Estrangement Is Death). Bruno S. was plucked out of obscurity by director Werner Herzog to star in the filmmaker's breakthrough 1974 picture, The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser. The film became an international sensation, earning Herzog a Grand Jury prize from the Cannes Film Festival and Bruno S. many kudos for an emotionally raw performance that seemed destined to transform the actor into a cinematic legend. After starring in one more film for Herzog -- Stroszek (1977) -- Bruno S. never worked with the director or in the medium of film again until meeting with Zownir to produce this documentary. Painting and performing at various nightclubs throughout Berlin, Bruno S. uses both artistic mediums as a means to express his various emotional responses to the numerous obstacles he had to endure over the course of his troublesome life. Bruno S. was screened at the 2003 Berlin Film Festival as a selection in the Panorama Documentary schedule.
ABOUT BRUNO SCHLEINSTEIN: The unwanted son of a prostitute, Bruno S. (Bruno Schleinstein) was beaten so severely by his mother at age 3 that he became temporarily deaf. This led to his placement in a mental institution; he spent the next 23 years in various institutions, often running afoul of the law. Despite this past, he a self-taught painter and musician; while these were his favorite occupations, he was also forced to take jobs in factories such as driving a fork lift. Film producer Werner Herzog saw him in the documentary Bruno der Schwarze (1970) and vowed to work with him, which led to his major roles in Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle - Kaspar Hauser (1974) and Stroszek (1977). | MORE