Herzog inquires and videos insane penguins in Antarctica as they march on towards their doom.
I love his work but sometimes I wonder how much he’s actually trying to be funny with these sorts of comments. Maybe just overly serious as a younger man?
“The birds don’t sing they screech in pain.”
There's something so absurd about tiny flapping, waddling penguins as an animal, and yet they seem relatable too as they go about their day everyday, including the insane penguins in question.
Storyboards are the instruments of the cowards
(For the record, I don't believe the above is true for iOS development :)
It is Mr. Herzog's slightly pedantic tongue in cheek, semi-flamboyant, original way of saying that his type of cinema doesn't require storyboards. That is fine, as long as no one misunderstands it for saying that he doesn't need a script to plan his shots and can rely solely on artistic brilliance and improvisation, which couldn't be further from the truth.
Of course, most documentaries and art films don't need a visual screenplay like a storyboard, because it wouldn't make sense to script the action besides the fact that there is little action in those films. It is kind of logical and has nothing to do with being particularly brave. Now, action movies require storyboards because otherwise, the director wouldn't know what to do and would blow the studio's budget and get fired. Not using a storyboard wouldn't make the director a coward, but it would be unprofessional.
In cinema and documentaries and even to do YouTube videos, you need a plan, an outline, or a script. Without a planning tool, you will blow up your budget and end up with a second rate product. A storyboard is a planning tool you need when your scene is complex and will require tight control of your budget. It is just a tool and doesn't impede your improvisation abilities or choices or make you afraid of anything. That's silly.
Also, if I had the choice between dragging a 320 ton steamship over a mountain in the Amazon rainforest and
working with a gun carrying Klaus Kinski, I'd certainly chose the former. No wonder nothing can frighten Werner Herzog, I guess.
It's okay to hate good films though. A big part of appreciating culture is learning to recognize when something is good, but not for you. e.g. Many go gaga for Antonioni's "L'Avventura". It may have done some pretty revolutionary things for film, but I hate it with a passion. I can't stand it's plot structure and loathe every one of it's characters. I recognize that it is a good film, but also that it's not for me.
Be careful to say, "I didn't like that film" instead of "That is a bad film because I didn't like it".
Insufferable: He doesn't just convey a feeling to his audience. He makes the audience feel it directly. If he wants to convey boredom, he bores you. If he wants to convey patiences, he makes you wait patiently. If he wants to convey discomfort, he'll make you feel uncomfortable.
Mocking: He mocks his subjects in many ways, but mocking also seems to be his main way to express admiration. He mocks man's battle against nature. "Man is a fool. Nature wins" is a binding theme, yet he believes greatness only comes form that struggle (hunting in the taiga, an impromptu hike through France and Germany, Fitzcarraldo, playing chicken with an active volcano, etc). The more highly his subject thinks about himself (and it's always a "he"), the more he savages them with mockery (that includes all PhDs in his movies, and every character who wants to be on camera). The more prestigious the character, the more he lunges at them. And if he can't make them flinch with his mockery, he holds the shot steady long enough for the viewer to flinch. He needs someone to flinch in his mockery/respect/admiration game.
Low-ingredient/genuine: In his older films, his actors were raw (either because they weren't actors, or because they were Kinski). Hertzog portrays himself on the scene through his characters, and criticizes himself. The struggles he documents remind him of his own follies. He makes fun of his characters to criticize himself. It's a form of bullying for sure, but it's also a genuine form of self-criticism.
No life lessons: You might walk away thinking "what did i learn from that movie?" Usually you'll have learned nothing (Rescue Dawn might be an exception, because it's really a Hollywood film. But think about his documentary about the skiing wood carver. You learn zero things about skiing or wood carving). But you've walked away with a shitload of feelings. You've been through the ringer. These feelings seem to dissipate soon after the movie, but the sounds, the music, the tone of his voice, the periodic movements in the scene all stay with you. These images have a taste, and you'll remember their taste for years to come.
I hate his movies, but I've watched every one of them to understand why I hate them. I wish kinski had succeeded in strangling him, or that pellet had not be so insignificant, or that Alice Waters had let him choke on that shoe. But there's no escaping the images, I'll always feel haunted.
I find Herzog to be low-key hilarious. Pretty much all my friends, who also dig his work, do as well. I think he tips his hand in this regard quite a bit with Bad Lieutenant 2. Also, notice how when he speaks to live audiences the way he feeds off their laughter and I would argue here is also playing them for laughs in a way a comedian would.
I’m not saying that Herzog is a pure comedic film maker such as Mel Brooks or something but his movies take on a whole new dimension when you realize that yes he is taking a hard look at horror sometimes but I think he also laughs at absurdity quite a bit as well.
Also, his DIY attitude and strong work ethic are admirable qualities as well.
Someone here posted a link to Ebert’s essay on Nosferatu where he goes on about The film’s cinematography (which actually is freakin excellent mind you) and it’s milky under saturated etherealness.. Yeah sure but come on it’s Kinski, who is an absolute nutter, like nutter prime, in a ridiculous vampire costume! Herzog’s humour is underrated.
Another fantastic documentary to see in 3D, in a cinema, was "Pina".
You have dark aspects of protagonists revealed, questions about what to do with belongings if they don't come back and so on. Its not the style that was common at that time. I mean, it gives you perspective on extreme mountaineering and people doing it like few documents do, even in these days.
Whether you like Messner's personality or not, its a damn fine documentary and shows why these guys are not mere athletes like world champions/olympic winners.
as directors go, herzog is wildly uneven. a lot of his stuff strikes me as right on the money, exposing truths i wouldn't have known otherwise. a bunch more of it seems self-indulgent and unnecessary.
having said all that, i'm inclined to watch anything from him i haven't already seen. he's always trying something new.
i would say i value novelty over almost any other quality i might find in movies and teevee. herzog delivers that in spades.
In Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber, one of Travis Kalanick’s lieutenants said the director’s commentary of the Criterion Collection edition of Fitzcarraldo provided the final spark that set the whole business idea in motion.
brilliant movies though...
"In My Best Fiend, Herzog says that one of the native chiefs offered in all seriousness to kill Kinski for him, but that he declined because he needed the actor to complete filming"
It feels like an emperor has no clothes situation. For some reason people think it signals high status or intellectualism to like Herzog so they say they do.
I haven’t watched all of his movies so this may be unfairly harsh, but that was my initial impression.
Portal podcast also came across that way to me. First interview with Thiel was interesting, but I stopped somewhere after the next couple.
Too much “the media doesn’t want us to talk about this” and “the Clintons are a globalist conspiracy against the people”.
If you have real arguments then make them.
Don’t just confidently state things as fact without backing them up.
Thankfully when Sam Harris was on he at least pushed back on some of the bullshit.
Project Xanadu may have been the longest vaporware project in history, but Nelson himself is well-respected by many others, some of whom are near-universally respected (e.g. Alan Kay and Woz).
I have a natural aversion when people talk about things in kind of vague mystical ways (the fingers running through the water), or when they confidently state something without stating why (complaining that copy/paste was some disaster to humanity, but not actually saying or explaining anything about it).
I like when documentaries or experts love their topic and revel in breaking it down and explaining it clearly. Some of the smartest people I know are also the first to help explain a complicated topic they're interested in to a curious lay person.
The documentary did the opposite for me, taking an interesting topic and using confusing non-explanations to make it seems more confusing than it is.
This really bothers me because it makes the curious person think it's beyond their understanding, when usually it's the person explaining that's just making it hard to understand. It felt like the director was pushing more complexity because it made it seem more 'magical', but magic is the opposite of clarity.
This could be unfairly uncharitable since it's only a short clip (and I don't know much about Ted Nelson - though I have read a lot about and respect Kay and Woz), but my impression from this was negative.
I would ultimately like to see a well-made, intelligently crafted documentary (or even documentary mini-series) about the actual creation of the Internet that does emphasize that it's not some arcane subject that only wizards can understand (though it should portray the people who invented this stuff ex nihilo as the geniuses that they are).
I do agree with Ted about copy-paste though. ;)
Thanks for sharing!