The Cinema of Werner Herzog: Aesthetic Ecstasy and Truth (Directors' Cuts)

The Cinema of Werner Herzog: Aesthetic Ecstasy and Truth (Directors' Cuts)

Brad Prager

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 1905674171

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Werner Herzog is renowned for pushing the boundaries of conventional cinema, especially those between the fictional and the factual, the fantastic and the real. The Cinema of Werner Herzog: Aesthetic Ecstasy and Truth is the first study in twenty years devoted entirely to an analysis of Herzog's work. It explores the director's continuing search for what he has described as 'ecstatic truth,' drawing on over thirty-five films, from the epics Aguirre: Wrath of God (1972) and Fitzcarraldo (1982) to innovative documentaries like Fata Morgana (1971), Lessons of Darkness (1992), and Grizzly Man (2005). Special attention is paid to Herzog's signature style of cinematic composition, his "romantic" influences, and his fascination with madmen, colonialism, and war.

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nine-year-old brother, who is a font of Talmudic wisdom, and who repeatedly provides evidence that he is too wise for his years. He tells Breitbart the story of a prince who thought he was a rooster (not a surprising or unusual trope in Herzog’s films) and hid under the table, refusing to live and eat alongside his family. He explains that after magicians and doctors fail to tease the prince out, only an ‘unknown sage’ succeeds. The sage convinces the prince to return to the table by reminding

traditional slow motion, and he also adds music of a style not traditionally associated with sports, music composed by Florian Fricke. Drawing an analogy between athletic and religious ecstasies, Herzog employs a synthetic score that recalls cathedral choirs. Coupled with the knowledge that many in the crowd below have made a ‘pilgrimage’ to see Steiner (a word that is over-determined in Herzog’s work and thought), the music emphasises the quasi-religious status of Steiner’s accomplishment. Such

stood. Stroszek stares at an empty inner landscape in Stroszek (1976) Just as Wisconsin drives Eva to prostitution, it drives Stroszek to robbery. The scene of the crime is all at once tragic and slapstick. Stroszek wears his Stetson hat, which does not demonstrate that he is integrated in this cowboy world, but that he has another means of hiding from it. The ill-fitting hat and oversized rifle he and Scheitz take with them recall Even Dwarfs Started Small insofar as the world seems built

Herzog’s lack of an explanation. Herzog’s poetry may be a sign of hope, and may function as a counterweight to his film’s pessimism. This, like the companionship those birds apparently offer, and like all positive signs from nature in Herzog’s films, potentially and probably misleads. Nosferatu the Vampyre Nosferatu the Vampyre is a somewhat generic film, which is to say that it is rooted more squarely in the genre of the horror film than Heart of Glass is rooted in the Heimat film. It is

not scared anymore. We all have to die, just like that.’ Finally: ‘Why should I be [scared]? We all have to die one day. I’m here and I’m poor. I only have myself to look after. I could leave here. Everyone else has fled.’ Towards the end of the film Herzog says: ‘In my memory it is not the volcano which remains, but the neglect and oblivion in which those black people live.’ Perhaps for this reason, because this film is meant to be a sober consideration of a real willingness to die, Herzog

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