Thursday, February 16, 2017

The World According To Werner Herzog

RESCUE DAWN (2006) - HERZOG, WERNER. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopædia Britannica, 25 May 2016. Accessed 7 Jan 2017.
Always take the initiative. There is nothing wrong with spending a night in a jail cell if it means getting the shot you need. Send out all your dogs and one might return with prey. Never wallow in your troubles; despair must be kept private and brief. Learn to live with your mistakes. Expand your knowledge and understanding of music and literature, old and modern. Thar roll of unexposed celluloid you have in your hand might be the last in existence, so do something impressive with it. There is never an excuse not to finish a film. Carry bolt cutters everywhere. Thwart institutional cowardice. Ask for forgiveness, not permission. Take your fate into your own hands. Learn to read the inner essence of a landscape. Ignite the fire within and explore unknown territory. Walk straight ahead, never detour. Manoeuvre and mislead, but always deliver. Don't be fearful of rejection. Develop your own voice. Day one is the point of no return. A badge of honour is to fail a film theory class. Chance is the lifeblood of cinema. Guerilla tactics are best. Take revenge if need be. Get used to the bear behind you.
~Werner Herzog

The German filmmaker (producer, director, author, actor) Werner Herzog was born Werner Herzog Stipetić in Bavaria - took the last name of his father for his working name, though his father abandoned the family, because he thought Herzog sounded "better" for a filmmaker. He is considered one of the most important directors of the New German Cinema (other contenders include Wim Wenders and Rainer Werner Fassbinder), but he "didn’t know that cinema existed until [he] was 11." He has made both feature films and documentary films during his long career, but since 1995 he has mainly concentrated on documentaries. He narrates many of his documentaries, and his distinctive voice has also featured in episodes of The Simpsons and Adult Swim's Metalocalypse. He has been called "one of the most diverse, uncompromising and staggeringly prolific filmmakers on the planet," with IMDb listing 68 directing credits, 55 writing credits, and more in acting and producing to his name.

But who better to tell you about Werner Herzog than Herzog himself? Here are some of the internet's favorite Herzog quotes (called by some "wonderfully bonkers"): not the art of scholars but of illiterates.

My ideas are like uninvited guests. They don’t knock on the door; they climb in through the windows like burglars who show up in the middle of the night and make a racket in the kitchen as they raid the fridge.

I work very fast and steadily, and I don’t hardly ever notice that I’m working. It feels like just breathing or walking when I do films.

I never have searched for a subject. They always just come along. They never come by way of decision-making. They just haunt me. I can’t get rid of them. I did not invite them.

About his friendship with Klaus Kinski: “People think we had a love-hate relationship. Well, I did not love him, nor did I hate him. We had mutual respect for each other, even as we both planned each other’s murder.”

When I saw the dancing chicken, I knew I would create a grand metaphor - for what, I don't know.

Perhaps I seek certain utopian things, space for human honour and respect, landscapes not yet offended, planets that do not exist yet, dreamed landscapes. Very few people seek these images today.   

Do you not then hear this horrible scream all around you that people usually call silence?

In the face of the obscene, explicit malice of the jungle, which lacks only dinosaurs as punctuation, I feel like a half-finished, poorly expressed sentence in a cheap novel. 

I’m quite convinced that cooking is the only alternative to film making. Maybe there’s also another alternative; that’s walking on foot.

If you want more Wernerisms, consider checking out the funny Tumblr Werner Herzog Inspirationals. Or, check out something by Werner Herzog from your friendly library catalog - here's a sampling of your options: 


Werner Herzog: A Guide For the Perplexed - Conversations With Paul Cronin

Of Walking In Ice : Munich-Paris, 23 November-14 December 1974


Grizzly Man

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga

Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Into the Abyss

Encounters at the End of the World

My Best Fiend

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I totally heard that whole post in his voice. Grizzly Man is an incredible documentary and Into the Abyss was heartbreaking.