Having fathered an illegitimate child with his lover, Marie, feckless soldier Franz Woyzeck takes odd jobs around his small town to provide some extra money for them. One of them is volunteering for experiments conducted by a local doctor, who puts Woyzeck on a diet of peas. This serves to drive him close to madness, and the discovery that Marie is involved in an affair with the local drum major exacerbates the situation. Pushed too far, Woyzeck resorts to violence.
Lajos Kovács (WINGS OF DESIRE) stars as the misused Woyzeck, who ekes out a miserable existence sweeping train tracks, running errands for a bullying army captain and acting as a human guinea pig for a local doctor with ideas about free will. When his common-law wife begins an affair with a local cop, Woyzeck's pocket Bible and near-starvation diet point him on a downward spiral of twisted redemption.
Woyzeck takes psychotropic drugs and punishes himself physically. He has no choice. It's his living. With what he earns selling his body and by working in a restaurant and in subway tunnels, he just about makes ends meet. Coming home to his wife Marie and his infant child, he’s an impotent wreck -- and definitely unable to afford the earrings he sees Marie wearing one day. She’s frustrated and the jewelry is a gift from the local pimp. Woyzeck wasn't supposed to find out. But he has. Plagued by voices, he loses his already weak grip on reality. He retreats into the tunnels with Marie and the baby. There Woyzeck is the master of life and death.
How much can a simple man endure until he loses his humanity?