Even the fact that Achternbusch scripted the most wilfully bizarre Herzog feature - Heart of Glass, in which the entire cast performed under hypnosis - doesn't prepare one for the strangeness of his own films. Where Herzog has sought increasing comfort in grandiose visions and international travel, Achternbusch is less romantic and more defiantly Bavarian. However, his central character (played by himself) reminds one more of Spike Milligan than of any German: a fly-catcher and private detective, who loves only waitresses called Susan and drinks to forget the figure of six million that haunts him. As with Milligan, any attempt at synopsis is foolhardy. Suffice it to say that Achternbusch's self-elected task is to point up the absurd complacency of post-war Germany by reconnecting the raw nerves that the Germans have tried so hard to forget, and what pulls it all together is a desperate manic seriousness. One hesitates to call this unsettling film a comedy, as its laughter is the stuff of nightmare. What right has anyone to laugh after too many are dead? But, says Achternbusch, what else can one do?
Cast and crew