1h 38min · Drama · 17 December 1947
The body of Franz Wozzeck lies on a table in an anatomy lecture of a small German university. Whereas the doctor in charge of dissecting the cadaver can only see the murdered corpse lying on the table, Buechner, a medical student, sees the corpse of a "human being." "A human being" he adds, "that we have murdered." Buechner then proceeds to tell the story of Franz Wozzeck. Franz Wozzeck was a poor soldier. He endured the harassment and humiliation of his military superiors. His meager soldier's pay allowed him to provide for his beloved wife, Marie, and their child with the bare necessities and secure a modest future for them. It was this basic desire to earn money for his family that lead Wozzeck to be the guinea pig in a series of harsh medical experiments - for his participation in the experiments Wozzeck earned a few pennies. Marie is a beautiful and sensual girl, who loves Franz. But she also suffers from his physical and mental deterioration, and his morbid pathological visions. Owing to her difficulties with Franz, Marie eventually falls into the hands of the tenacious and seductive drum-major. When Wozzeck learns about his wife's infidelity - in their small village, news of conjugal indecorum quickly makes the rounds - he directs his entire indignation and rage against Marie. Indeed, it's not his tormentors he pursues with his wrath, but rather his beloved wife - whom he eventually kills. A film, based on Georg Buechner's taut drama, with exceptional visual power. Sharply realistic and uncannily visionary.
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DEFA Film Library