Lebenszeichen

1968 [GERMAN]

Drama

3
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 91%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 71%
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 1981

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
May 06, 2021 at 10:49 AM

Director

Cast

Werner Herzog as Soldat
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
828.74 MB
968*720
ger 2.0
NR
24 fps
1 hr 30 min
P/S 0 / 5
1.5 GB
1440*1072
ger 2.0
NR
24 fps
1 hr 30 min
P/S 0 / 6

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by manjits 10 / 10

My favorite Herzog

I first saw this film in 1969 in Bangalore (India) in a German film festival. The film was unheralded, being the first feature from an unknown director. However, the film made an everlasting impression on me, and I considered it among 2 or 3 of the best films I had seen till then. I kept track of Werner Herzog films ever since, and have been seeing them all I could lay my hands on. Even today, I'll put it as among the 10 best films I have ever seen, and it remains my favorite Herzog movie. The film is sheer poetry. It's a film about 3 characters'(2 soldiers and wife of one of them) boredom in an isolated Greek island, and how each one handles it. While one of the soldiers snaps up at the end, and tries to destroy everything in his impotent fury - managing only to kill a donkey ultimately - the second soldier keeps himself and first soldier's wife sane by just being raucously funny. I found the story, direction, camera-work and acting fascinating,and far from boring, as suggested by some reviews. I believe, Herzog has been influenced by India's Satyajit Ray in his style of presentation. He is one of the 3 most uncompromising film directors of the world in last 50 years, the other 2 being Ingmar Bergman and Robert Bresson, and his first feature is among his best.

Reviewed by Quinoa1984 10 / 10

gritty, meandering, a beautiful and harrowing start to a career

Werner Herzog's first film is a view into the mindset of the soldier who goes over the brink, but unlike many films that might explore the concept, or even Herzog's own later, arguably greater, Woyzeck, Signs of Life is about a man engulfed by the location. The setting is interesting right away; a stone fortress that men who have been wounded or just put on leave are guarding on a remote Greek island during WW2 (of course, we're never told this, which is appropriate, one can take a guess as to the significance of Herzog's POV as part of the New German cinema), and aside from the cockroaches and painting doors, there's not much to do. The mundane becomes engulfing, even as there's little things to do on the island. It's always bubbling under the surface, and as the days pass and things start to grow more aimless, Stroszek (Peter Brogle, with the kind of eyes and demeanor Kubrick would've loved to film) distances himself, sets of fireworks in his hands, and snaps one day out on patrol.

If anyone knows Herzog, the tale of a man going "berserk", as one officer says in this film of the main character, this shouldn't be seen out of the ordinary. Herzog has always tried to explore not so much of the precise 'whys' of the snap, or the break under pressure, or society's role or those around in personal quarters. Of course it's suggested a lot of the time, but in the case of Signs of Life we see much of the insanity in very long shots, with Stroszek going mad in the last twenty minutes on top of the fortress, wavering around, surrounded still by the immense landscape - an "inner" landscape, mayhap, as Herzog describes so often of his perspective on landscapes - of the fortress set against the background of the sea and mountains. But if one were seeing this as the first feature of some 26 year old Bavarian who only made a few shorts (one of which was similar somewhat to Signs of Life), this would seem like the most unclassifiable "genre" film ever made.

It's a movie about soldiers who don't fight, and with images like cut aways to peasants running and rummaging in the streets, a bird, a bunch of statues, stone tablets. And then when Stroszek does snap, we don't hear any audio, just the intense plucking of the guitar by the Greek composer, as Herzog pans over a whole field of windmills. And where else would one ever see something like when the bald soldier is setting up the trap for the roaches? Or the segway with the guy who thinks that he's a King? The first half of the movie is unsettling because it doesn't seem like it's going anywhere, and yet I kept on wanting to stay with Herzog (not even because I knew where it was going); there's something underneath all of the ho-hum "non" drama that goes on, little bits of behavior in the lackadaisical, that when finally things pick up dramatically it starts slowly, then builds, goes to a peak, and then...

Well, you'll just have to see for yourself. All I know is that you're likely not to see another film like Signs of Life- much less a debut from a major European film artist- where the climax entails fireworks going off while practical martial law is placed over the island. Herzog doesn't follow any rules, and it can get frustrating here and there. But it's also exhilarating, and I would probably count it in my top 10 favorites of the director.

Reviewed by gsic_batou 8 / 10

Beautiful; Herzog's first feature film

I guess it should come as no surprise that there are no more than 8 reviews on IMDb about this film. The comfortably habitual Hollywood formula, which in so many ways as found itself in far more than Hollywood pictures, makes it hard for people to appreciate works such as this. This movie premiers Herzog's love for pictures and his rare ability to search them in the most mundane environments-a picture of a statue's foot embedded in the wall, a car slowly crossing a dancing road over a hill disappearing and appearing, two grown man entertained by the mysterious motion of the ears of a small owl toy figure...the list goes on forever.

It tells the story of a soldier who, after being wounded, is sent to recover in a small and peaceful Greek island where he and 3 others are ordered to care for a fort. That reveals itself a boring job and as time passes, the mundane days start slowly removing the sanity from the soldier. The story of a soldier gone mad is hardly novelty, but in Lebenszeichen the soldier goes mad from boredom and the location seems to be the cause of that and that's why we are shown the quiet little island. And it seems Herzog wants us in quiet observance of this routine, just so that he can slap us awake by the impending insanity of the character. My favorite scene is when we observe a landscape of windmills, which is usually used to portray a sense of quietude and peace, and over the hill, on the background of the picture, in small size, we see the soldier losing his mind, waving around like a madmen as if he was being tortured. That duality seems to display the despair in a higher note.

This is not an easy movie to understand and interpret, because it hides more than it shows, it indicates more than it reveals, it searches as much as it offers. Its a beautiful movie and while its not as great as some of Herzog's best efforts, it is certainly worthwhile and memorable.

PS: another reviewer seems to offer the idea that the movie might have been influenced the Stephen King's "The Shinning", but the film predates that novel by 9 years.

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