REVIEWED
3/19/06

STORY

?

LOOK



Even Dwarfs Started Small (aka Auch Zwerge haben klein angefangen)
Director: Werner Herzog
Year: 1970
TRT: 1:36


Four words: German Dwarfs Run Amok! Wow! (The "Wow!" is additive, not to be counted in the Four Words claim). This is even earlier proof that Herzog is, indeed, of a different breed (as if Aguirre: The Wrath of God or Fitzcarraldo weren't enough). Shot in stark black & white, this film casts only small people, and is just not quite right. It's not exploitative in the least, but a literal microcosm of a slowly building anarchy committed by a community of midgets. Dwarfs. Whatever you want to call them, they're all tiny.

Plot is somewhat suspect, despite Herzog claiming all dialogue was written beforehand. Basically a compound in the middle of a barren wasteland full of disgruntled dwarfs, growing more and more agitated because one of them (Pepe) is being held captive in the main office by the compound President. Basically a nightmare put to film (Herzog's own claim), it is oddly disturbing to see this shrunken community living in the remnants of giants.

Fucked up surreal, there's blind German midgets, burning plants, 30's Spanish porn, a hijacked car driving in circles while being pelted with plates and eggs, a miniature wedding party made of bugs, a one-legged chicken, a monkey tied to a crucifix. It's all in here, only to see to be believed. Surprisingly very well shot with great natural sound (ie no dubbed voices, Herzog was adamant about it), and some haunting music. The DMR doesn't normally condone the consumption of any of a variety of alternate substances in addition to your normal alcohol intake (and only where legal, please), but this would be a good one for exactly that. It really is simultaneously amusing and sad.

Great Scene: Blind Midget Bowling. It probably shouldn't all be capitalized, but it's hard not to. And the haunting giggle/laugh of Hombre, the tiniest of the dwarfs.

DVD Notes: Anchor Bay deserves mucho credit for putting forth this early film by Herzog, as disturbed and surreal as it is. The film is a bit worn in places, but overall great condition considering. Also includes a commentary with some film chode, Herzog, and Crispin Glover(!). Don't look for any inspiration to the true nature of the film, it really is that fucked up and you just have to mudge through it yourself. Some interesting tidbits and reminiscing about the film itself.