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The Niklashausen Journey

1970 1h 26m Drama List
67% Tomatometer 6 Reviews 32% Audience Score 100+ Ratings
The Black Monk urges a humble shepherd to start a revolution after the shepherd sees the Virgin Mary. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (6) Critics Reviews
Lisa Alspector Chicago Reader Amazingly simple editing and sound design -- most scenes are complete in one shot and use only one or two sound effects or just music in addition to the dialogue-- create a minimally realist and hypertheatrical vision of class conflict and potential doom. Nov 13, 2007 Full Review Andrew Parker The Gate The story is slight, but every scene sticks with the viewer and drips with meaning. Aug 28, 2018 Full Review Fernando F. Croce CinePassion Fassbinder suggests a temporal continuum of thwarted upheaval that can only be addressed (and, thus, confronted) by way of frontal artistic attack. Nov 13, 2007 Full Review Robert Pardi TV Guide Twisting a German tradition to his own ends, Fassbinder restyles Bohm's martyrdom as a provocateur's call to arms. Rated: 3/4 Sep 18, 2006 Full Review Dennis Schwartz Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews Strictly for medieval shepherds on the look out for stray sheep. Rated: C+ May 23, 2006 Full Review Christopher Null a film about absolutely nothing Rated: 1/5 Nov 22, 2002 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (3) audience reviews
Audience Member Fassbinder chucks religion, philosophy, idealism, and economics in to a pot and lets it cook for 90 minutes. It's crazy but it works. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/01/23 Full Review Audience Member The Niklashausen Journey is very much a product of its time, being halfways between a Goddardian (by way of Brecht) "distanced" telling of a historical tale, full of anachronisms and on-screen commentary, and a hip parable, not unlike an ultra-leftist Godspell with polemic replacing the songs. The film is based on the life of one Hans Boehm, a shepherd from Niklashausen who, in the early 15th century, had visions of the Virgin Mary, gathered a large popular following amongst the peasantry, increasingly stirred up ill-feeling towards the clergy and nobility and was burned as a as a heretic and enchanter in 1476. In Fassbinder and Fengler's television film (shot on 16mm), a motley group of contemporary types re-enact the shepherd's story as well as talk endlessly about the methods, implications, pitfalls and necessities of political revolution. Along the way, the film suggests not just the mystic revolutionaries of the reformation period but also the German and Russian communists of the early 20th century and the hippies & black panthers contemporaneous to the film's release. The story would seem to suggest that the revolution - although justified by the corruption and guile of the ruling classes - is always doomed; the shepherd himself is a gorgeous blonde youth with little personality whose followers seem to be in the grip of some spell or hysteria, suggesting that he's nothing more than a Pied Piper, Hitler or Charles Manson. Fassbinder himself plays one of the shepherd's cohorts, walking & talking alongside the group wearing his trademark blue jeans and black leather jacket. At one point one of the female followers chastises him for thinking that happiness can ever be achieved on earth - life on this plane of existence is merely ours to illustrate that there can be no happiness outside of heaven; Fassbinder says nothing either way about this... The film is rather uncompromisingly lacking in narrative pull, although its amalgam of tableaux, slow zooms and intricately choreographed tracked dialogues does make it filmicly exciting. Basically, it's another of Fassbinder's long, slow steps out of avant-guarde cornerism towards becoming a master of 1970s cinema. Worth catching once, appreciable but difficult to really warm to. Not that it is meant to be taken warmly... Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/06/23 Full Review Audience Member Die Niklashauser FART makes me sick, but in a challenging way that says its okay to suck other peoples bodily gasses into your mouth and die old and happy. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/21/23 Full Review Read all reviews
The Niklashausen Journey

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Movie Info

Synopsis The Black Monk urges a humble shepherd to start a revolution after the shepherd sees the Virgin Mary.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Michael Fengler
Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Michael Fengler
Original Language
1h 26m