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also known as Auch Zwerge haben klein angefangen

Even Dwarfs Started Small1970

  • 3.8
One of the most bizarre films ever made (and certainly the most bizarre made by Werner Herzog), EVEN DWARFS STARTED SMALL is an allegory in which the diminutive cast portrays the residents of an apparent asylum who rebel against authority and stage their own revolution. Full of shocking scenes and striking imagery, EVEN DWARFS is both thematically similar and tonally quite different from later Herzog classics. Its extreme rather than ethereal feel recalls the work of Alejandro Jodorowsky, Luis Buñuel, Fernando Arrabal and other Latin Surrealists as opposed to the avant-garde yet very Teutonic grandeur of AGUIRRE, HEART OF GLASS and other Herzog works. It was shot on the Canary Islands off Spain with a soundtrack consisting of what sounds like African choral music and shrill Spanish solo vocalisms. This was the first feature made with an all-little-person cast since the 1938 camp western classic THE TERROR OF TINY TOWN. More telling trivia: when DWARVES was first released on DVD, it had liner notes written by none other than Crispin Glover, who doubtlessly saw it as an inspiration for his own directorial features WHAT IS IT? and IT IS FINE! EVERYTHING IS FINE. - Dennis Harvey

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4 members like this review

An interesting take on the ever popular authoritarian dystopia, generously sprinkled with ecotopian parallels. Both prescient and sadly myopic, Dwarfs is engaging because it is a compellingly clever and unusual depiction of ancient themes. Well worth watching, if not for the allegory then for the most artful cinematography.

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Member Reviews (10)

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top reviewer

An interesting take on the ever popular authoritarian dystopia, generously sprinkled with ecotopian parallels. Both prescient and sadly myopic, Dwarfs is engaging because it is a compellingly clever and unusual depiction of ancient themes. Well worth watching, if not for the allegory then for the most artful cinematography.

4 members like this review
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The most bizarre movie I have ever seen.

2 members like this review

What a wonderfully strange movie...

2 members like this review
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Odd but interesting flick. Probably would have given it 4 stars if I'd been under the influence of some sort of drugs. Definitely one of the strangest flicks I've seen.

1 member likes this review
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totally amazing BIZARRE film _i can't believe how strange it is_ it might be a problem if you love animals_they are a bit abused here_but it's beautiful in a crazy sort of way_totally worth your time

1 member likes this review

Surreal

1 member likes this review

Bizarre movie... I would have given it a higher rating if it didn't contain so much animal abuse.

1 member likes this review

VERY BIZARRE....... LOVED IT!

Disappointing. Herzog is a brilliant filmmaker who, instead of achieving greatness as an artist, has used animals on screen in order to render arresting images and instead simply lowers himself to the nihilism of those who don't really have much belief...in anything. The chicken interludes are initially arresting, but then they come to represent Herzog's own hatred of them. (In Paul Cronin's Herzog & Herzog he even admits to despising chickens, calling them stupid. Chickens are actually rather intelligent, but that's another story altogether). Made during the 1968 international student revolutions and the height of the Civil Rights and Anti-War movement, his obsession with cinematic debasing of animals takes away from the central action in the film -- the "revolution" taking place outside and against some kind of institution. Herzog shows how ridiculous and useless "revolution" is - this is probably why Left wing activists at the time hated it. (But then again, everyone apparently did - for their own reasons.) My interpretation of what a revolution is is obviously quite different. Herzog mocks revolutionary sentiment because his only relationship, experience, or understanding of it is in a white-middle class milieu. Those people can afford to mock anything (and they do, but they insist they are ironists and will be quick to quote Oscar Wilde or some such author) but doesn't Herzog prove his aligning with their perception of "revolution" when he does this? (He proves the poor Bavarian country boy can be as provincial and smug as the "Armchair Radicals" who masturbate to the idea of revolution but are quick to stop before they 'come.') My reason for disliking the film, however, is purely because I am frustrated when a director can't use his imagination to express violence or perversion. I have a problem when he gets too demonstrative with it. When he is not taunting animals (the pigs; the cock-fighting, the hens in the office - you think Michael Vick could get away with that on screen? And that is my point: why would anyone want to??) Herzog, nevertheless, is a powerful filmmaker. His scenes with the Asylum Director and Pepe are great and the moment where the Director argues with the tree on the side of the road for pointing its "finger" at him is startling. Good performances all round; the incongruous African choral singing lent a stranger element to the film that the movie itself seemed unable to deal with. It's as if the movie became more and more self conscious as it evolved. I liked that Brechtian epic aspect to it; the conscientiousness of it all...but I didn't appreciate Herzog's tastelessly graphic use of the animals. I never have. Yet, he remains an inspiration to me because he is sincere in his desire as a director - despite all of this. And while he does not offend my sensibilities the way an all-out 'Exploitation' or virulently Fascist director does -- in this very early movie he unfortunately already reduces himself to apathetic vaudeville instead of human commentary and that bothers me. He always claimed he wasn't "political" - and that itself is a political statement. Nevertheless, "Dwarfs" - is a movie with a frightening message: “what impels you to revolt may actually compel you to destroy. And then everything will be funny. And dim. And we'll laugh as we go up in flames.” But it’s the laughter that will cause us to choke.

what can I say ?? NFG !!