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Author Topic: Werner Herzog appreciation thread!  (Read 600 times)
Melooon
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« on: February 07, 2023 @727.89 »

Recently Iv been binge watching Werner Herzog documentaries! - For those of you who don't know he's a film maker, documentary maker, philosopher and low key comedian (although its more comedy in the greek tragedy sense than in the funny sense) - some of his work can be very light hearted (like when he cooks and eats his shoes) but most of it is deeply profound; I love that contrast between depth and lightheartedness! 

Here is a kinda compilation of clips that I guess is a pretty good introduction:


It can be a bit hard to find his works - a few are on Criterion - others are on Netflix. He's about 80 now but there's still a bunch of new stuff he's making that Im super excited to see!

Into the Inferno (2016) - is one about volcanoes.
Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World (2016) - is about the invention of the internet and I think it might have partly been what inspired me when I first made my site!

Here's the birthplace of the internet clip:


He also did some amazing films like Fitzcarraldo (1982) which is about a man who tried to drag a steam ship over a mountain in order to fund the creation of an opera house in the Amazon jungle because he believes the Amazon needs Opera (its based on a true story).

In truth though I have only seen a small fraction of his films; so Im curious to here if anyone else enjoys them and if so do you have any recommendations? And if you don't know them, I encourage you to watch a few and let me know what you think! :grin:
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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2023 @468.28 »

Melon, you show some taste.

Let me add to Fitzcaraldo, that there was an actual ship being dragged over an actual mountain. Herzog said, it had to look realistic. No animation tricks used!
Of all the films ever made, this must have been the single biggest, most difficult thing to have been made for a film on the whole planet. Dragging a ship all mechanical (with human-powered winches) over the mountain in the Amazonas with its poison snakes in the heat of the jungle. With a raging crazy-man playing the main role (Klaus Kinski). Including deliberately wrecking the ship with all the cast on-board for the finale in the dangerous cascades of the Amazon river.

On one hand, Herzog goes over morale limits to make his films. Cut down a trees in the rainforest for his movie. Destroy land. Having basically hundereds of "slaves" of foreign cultures to do all the dirty jobs. Resulting in one of the most abitious films ever planned being finished.
I'm deeply twisted with this. For me, Herzog is a adventerous giant, having finished Fitzcaraldo. I wonder if this could have been achieved a bit "nicer" maybe.
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Melooon
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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2023 @710.95 »

I actually watched the making of Fitzcaraldo last night! They did totally do it for real! - but it wasn't for the sake of realism - he did it because it was a deliberate defiance of over use of special effects in films; he wanted to create something that was genuine and respectful to the viewers sense of reality; thats something I can totally relate to.

The making of that film looks like a genuine nightmare - but the line between dreams and nightmares, between torment and ecstasy or madness and sanity, is exactly what the film is about; so it works! (Although apparently he was ostracised from the film community for about 10 years after that)

They did clear some rain forrest (but only a tiny bit); and they did use native tribes as both extras and labourers - however they paid them well, they kept them as safe as they could, and more importantly they helped them get the deed of ownership to their land; which recently prevented an oil company form destroying the whole area - so maybe it wasn't the most perfect working conditions at the time; but in the long run I think its had a positive effect on the area. (I wouldn't be making appreciating Hertzog threads if I though otherwise!)

I think maybe the takeaway I get from his work is that; dreams are never safe - but without dreams and creative vision.. whats the use of being human? Life is damn hard, but we dream the world into being a better place, and as messy as it might get, sometimes we make those dreams come true! I find that immensely reassuring and encouraging :ozwomp:
« Last Edit: February 08, 2023 @716.44 by Melooon » Logged


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« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2023 @411.02 »

Aye, "adventures" aren't just crashing down the Amazon river with a wrecked boat. It's about exceeding the range of travel with whatever, bicycle, car, train. Or walking on foot to places you've never walked before. Exploring of the unknown lands. Herzogs films really show these times, when it was done in the big scale. It's like Christoph Columbus setting sail to new grounds, but to put it to a smaller perspective, everyone can reach new grounds overcoming own borders.

In a shorter film about the native tribes in the Amazon rainforest, Herzog filmed the moment of these people getting for the first time in their life a hand on a metallic pot. Fascinated, perplexed about this unknown material. Maybe that was in the Seventies or Eighties, I don't recall exactly.

Herzog also describes, with a piece of melancholy, the so called "progress" that shaped the lives of the native tribes. Blue jeans and motocycles. So these times of true adventures are over, says Herzog. With that he means to get in contact with people who really never got their glimpse on the modern, western society.
I'm not sure, if that's true about the whole world though. But the modern western world surely looks advantageous, looking at the hard facts like metal. But those can't be gathered from nature directly, need complex structures... the trade has been made. The tribe people became modern and need a job now to get on.

Now that's a moral question, everyone has to answer for himself/herself. Maybe it would have happened anyways, the tribes' land probably would have been grabbed by some money-driven force. Besides that, there are always various things to look at on colonialism. Is the life of tribes people "easier" now? Which way of living is more sustainable? Would we fat-asses like to go to the rainforest and sip at caoutchouc trees to get the raw material out? While all of a sudden a venomous snake appears?

Anyways, Werner Herzog really showed this foreign world to us. And that's what I appeciate about him. He surely influenced me a lot, so that I build wooden frames from branches now.
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« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2023 @80.42 »

Hi.

Have you seen "Herz aus Glas"? The actors were hypnotized for this; it's so strange - I know people who can't watch it. Its genius. His remake of Nosferatu might be better than Murnaus original, and Stroszek is a disturbing beat down of the promises of capitalism.

Grizzly Man and Into the Abyss are cruel, but wonderful documentaries. But I haven't seen a Herzog-Documentation that isn't wonderful up to day.

If you enjoyed Fitzgeraldo, you should - if you haven't done so - also watch Aguirre. Its Fitzgeraldos sibling. Also, the documentary "Mein liebster Feind" about the relationship of Kinski and Herzog could be interesting.

Herzog is an artist. Hard to say how far he really goes for his art and what of the claims about his ruthlessness are a part of an artificial persona; I tend to believe the latter. Another interesting topic is Herzogs Hyper-reality; dunno if you heard from it: He says that it is okay to fake stuff to create a impression that through compression comes closer to reality than a natural image.
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