the early Nineteenth Century, the odd tale of Kaspar Hauser has stirred
controversy and skepticism. The latest
film (somewhat) inspired by the sad strange Bavarian wild child is likely to
generate similar disbelief. Those who
enjoy historical costume dramas will be deeply disappointed, but fans of
Vincent Gallo get a double fix with Davide Manuli’s The Legend of Kaspar Hauser (trailer here), which screens
during the 2013 San Francisco Independent Film Festival.
a long mysterious absence, Kaspar Hauser washes up on a deserted Sardinian beach. The local Sheriff is convinced the young man
is indeed heir to the island’s throne.
After all, he has his name tattooed across his chest. Others, like the local Priest, consider him a
holy fool. However, the ruling Duchess
does not think much of Hauser at all.
never says much, but he is constantly getting down to the music apparently
coming out of the headphones that he always wears but never has connected to
anything. Eventually, the Sheriff
teaches him a profession: dj-ing, surely a high demand trade on a nearly barren
isle. There are also UFOs that briefly show
not try to make too much sense of Legend. It would be a fruitless exercise. The only reason to watch the film is to see
Gallo do his thing as the English speaking Sheriff and his Italian speaking
nemesis, the Pusher. He improvises,
chews the scenery, and boogies down with wild abandon. Nonetheless, he cannot disguise the thinness
of the concept he is trying to punch up.
Ben Abdallah’s black-and-white cinematography is quite striking, as is Elisa
Sednaoui as the Clairvoyant, one of apparently seven residents of the
island. Unfortunately, her scenes are
essentially extended non sequiturs. On
the plus side, a case could be made Silvia Calderoni is rather effective as
Hauser, since it takes a while for those not forewarned to realize she is a
woman playing a manchild’s role.
of electronica might dig Vitalic’s original soundtrack, but it is hard to
believe it would constitute sufficient entertainment for most movie
patrons. Manuli offers up some clever
gags here and three, like “priest” emblazoned on the back of “the Priest’s”
cassock” in Judas Priest typography, but basically, Legend just gives you Gallo X 2 in black-and-white.
is sure to attract a cult audience, who will probably guffaw loudly through
both showings to assure themselves they are really enjoying it. Recommended for Gallo fanatics (who are not
likely to have many chances to see it), but not the rest of us mere mortals, The Legend of Kaspar Hauser screens this
Friday (2/8) and the following Monday (2/11) at the Roxie Theatre as part of
this year’s SF Indie Fest.
Labels: Italian Cinema, SF Indie Fest '13, Vincent Gallo