Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Werner Herzog is Breaking Out All Over

Hey, wasn't I talking about Werner Herzog just the other day? I was! Now everyone's talking about him. Well, at least two other people are.

First up is Leo Grin, over at Big Hollywood, who discusses Herzog's conservative tendencies:
The life of Werner Herzog is filled with such stories — tales of deep spiritualism that continually invite a resolutely non-dogmatic but nevertheless palpably Christian interpretation. The Left habitually ignores this, preferring to revel in their shallow image of Herzog as a reckless, half-mad darling of the godless art-house circuit, a sort of Colonel Kurtz with a camera. The truth is that he’s more akin to a Bavarian Flannery O’Connor, deeply devout and honest even while telling stories featuring characters who are anything but. Like the monks and prophets of old, Herzog is that rare man who implicitly trusts his own soul-stirring religious impulses and allows them to take him where they may. Viewed with this in mind, his fascination with stories of chaos and darkness — stories like Grizzly Man — become not celebrations of madness, but a sane and noble search for God in a fallen world.

This is part 2 in a series; I can't wait for more.

Next is The Wall Street Journal's A.J. Goldmann who talks movies with Herzog at the Berlin Film Festival:
At 67 years old, the enfant terrible of New German Cinema, best known for "Aguirre, the Wrath of God" and "Fitzcarraldo," has become a grand old man of film, his hair (or whatever is left of it) a distinguished gray. For a director whose work so often deals with destructive obsession and the eternal struggle between man and nature, Mr. Herzog was unexpectedly soft-spoken and deliberate.

His movies continue to exert a strong influence on younger generations of filmmakers, from Francis Ford Coppola to Larry Clark, and many of his works, including his six collaborations with the actor Klaus Kinski, have gained cult followings. But one could hardly call him an obsessive film buff. "I love to watch films, but I've never been a compulsive moviegoer," he told me.

Fascinating stuff. I've seen only Grizzly Man and liked it but after reading these two articles, I'll have to see what else of his I can find. (Though his recent Bad Lieutenant doesn't really appeal to me.)

In a world of over-the-top, special effects laden blockbuster movies, it's refreshing to know there's someone out there still fiercely pursuing his singular vision about things that really matter to the human heart.

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