Archive for category: Werner Herzog

Grizzly Man: The Overwhelming Indifference Of Nature

5 September, 2009 (18:46) | by Sean Axmaker, Documentary, Werner Herzog | By: Sean Axmaker

It’s easy to see why Werner Herzog was so fascinated by Timothy Treadwell, the former beach bum turned self-made wildlife activist and grizzly bear guardian who spent thirteen summers living amidst the grizzly bears of the Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska until he, along with his girlfriend and traveling partner, Amie Huguenard, was […]

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Losing Focus: Three Herzog Shorts – The Dark Glow of the Mountains, The Ballad of the Little Soldier, Little Dieter Needs to Fly

5 September, 2009 (07:20) | by David Coursen, Werner Herzog | By: David Coursen

The Dark Glow of the Mountains (1984), suffers from limitations imposed by its subject: the effort of two daredevil climbers to scale two difficult mountains back-to-back, without a break in between. They describe this as something never done before and much more dangerous than climbing one peak. The aesthetic problem, though, is that the available […]

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On Staring Into the Camera: Aguirre and Bears

4 September, 2009 (15:41) | by Robert Horton, Werner Herzog | By: Robert Horton

(This piece was presented as lecture to a general audience at the Seattle Art Museum following a screening of Aguirre, the Wrath of God. I left it as is, so it might feel more spoken than written, which was the original idea.) Near the end of Grizzly Man, Werner Herzog’s amazing documentary about a man who […]

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Rescue Dawn: The Challenge of the Extraordinary

4 September, 2009 (07:05) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Essays, Film Reviews, Werner Herzog | By: Robert C. Cumbow

When I first saw Rescue Dawn—in fact, when I saw the preview trailer—I said to myself, Aha! After a whole generation, here’s another green film from Werner Herzog. Herzog has made a lot of remarkable films. But so long is the reach of Aguirre, Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo, and so profound their visual stamp, […]

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Fitzcarraldo: The Idea Was a Bold One

3 September, 2009 (06:50) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film Reviews, Werner Herzog | By: Robert C. Cumbow

[Originally published in The Informer, January 1983] “The project fell through, but the idea was a bold one.” The story of Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald’s life—perhaps his epitaph—is writ large very near the beginning of Fitzcarraldo, by his own loving Molly. Fitzcarraldo is in a recursive nightmare: To bring opera to Iquitos, he must have money; […]

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Stroszek

2 September, 2009 (07:56) | by David Coursen, Film Reviews, Werner Herzog | By: David Coursen

Even when he made Stroszek (1978), Herzog’s work had reflected parallel interests in documentary and narrative fiction forms. The sublime Fata Morgana (1971) (despite Herzog’s preposterous claim that it is a sci-fi film about an intergalactic war) and the wonderfully perverse Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970), almost as much as the explicitly documentary Land of […]

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Heart of Glass

1 September, 2009 (16:55) | by David Coursen, Film Reviews, Werner Herzog | By: David Coursen

Werner Herzog seemed to court risks, artistic and personal. Heart of Glass (1976), may be his most ambitious, stylized, and explicitly allegorical film, and seems in retrospect to mark the point where his relentless risk-taking overreached his limits. Heart of Glass in conventional terms is a failure, ponderous, stilted, overwhelmingly pretentious, but one that still […]

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Aguirre, The Wrath Of God: Extraordinary Images, Extraordinary Resonance

1 September, 2009 (07:34) | Essays, Guest Contributor, Werner Herzog | By: Movietone News contributor

By Ken Eisler [Originally published in Movietone News 29, January-February 1971, reprinted in Movietone News 62-63, December 1979] We were looking at a back number of the magazine for quite another reason and happened on this piece by the late Ken Eisler. It was written at a time when most of us had heard little […]

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Land of Silence and Darkness: What it Means to be Human

31 August, 2009 (16:48) | by David Coursen, Essays, Film Reviews, Werner Herzog | By: David Coursen

Land of Silence and Darkness (1971) was Herzog’s first feature-length documentary (his previous feature, Fata Morgana [1971] begs to be classed as a metaphysical documentary, but by Herzog’s daffy description, is sci-fi). The subject matter, the struggle for human communication, is such a natural for Herzog that in some ways the film is quintessential early […]

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Even Dwarfs Started Small: Persistence and Futility

30 August, 2009 (22:14) | by David Coursen, Film Reviews, Werner Herzog | By: David Coursen

Herzog’s Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970) stands out as one of his most singular films. It has virtually no story-line (“dwarfs raise hell” probably exhausts the subject) and its harsh tone seems to confront its audience, aggressively demanding some kind of response. Even the title seems a kind of challenge: why the word “even,” which […]

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Offing the Pig: Even Dwarfs Started Small

30 August, 2009 (22:11) | Essays, Guest Contributor, Werner Herzog | By: Movietone News contributor

By Ken Eisler [Originally published in Movietone News 36, October 1974] It’s easy to see how Werner Herzog’s third feature might have provoked cries of “Reaction!” from students and other militants. The film’s rebellion of dwarfs against a callous but mealy-mouthed reform school administration certainly “starts small”; it barely gets one cubit off the ground, […]

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Signs of Life: Longing for a Rational, Ordered World

30 August, 2009 (22:08) | by David Coursen, Film Reviews, Werner Herzog | By: David Coursen

Although Signs of life (1967) was Herzog’s first feature film, it has few of the self-conscious, look-at-me-making-a-movie film school tricks that often characterize first efforts. Compared to the director’s later work, it seems muted, but it contains many of its director’s signature motifs and devices: strikingly bizarre, expressive images; off-beat, occasionally off-the-wall humor rooted in […]

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Aguirre, The Wrath of God – Defying the Natural Order

5 July, 2009 (12:28) | by David Coursen, Essays, Werner Herzog | By: David Coursen

Aguirre, The Wrath of God (1972) was Werner Herzog’s fifth feature film—his first with Klaus Kinski—and arguably his most compelling, resonant, and admired early work. Its opening titles announce its subject as an expedition led by Pizarro in search of El Dorado, that crossed the Andes descended to the jungle floor, and made an ill-fated […]

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