Erik Hedegaard’s in-depth article explores ‘The Art of Being a Death-Defying, Gonzo Filmmaking Genius’ – Werner Herzog has dragged ships up mountains, hypnotized actors and stared into volcanoes – and the German director is still obsessively seeking a deeper truth…
Not far from the big round dome atop the Griffith Observatory, leaning on a railing that overlooks the Greater Los Angeles sinkhole, the German director Werner Herzog, 74, removes a tissue from his pocket and dabs at his eyes. His eyes are leaking. They’ve been leaking for the past hour or so. The tear fluid builds up in the corner of one of his blue eyes, then starts to cascade down his cheeks, halted only when he dab, dab, dabs.
He does not explain this. In fact, him being Herzog, he would never explain this, if only because it’s not in his nature to even think about something so trivial and beside the point. Only one thing matters to him: his movies. He’s got two new feature films coming out: Salt and Fire, an ecological thriller, and Queen of the Desert, a biopic about the British explorer Gertrude Bell. Plus, just yesterday, he returned from Austria, where he opened a Herzog retrospective that includes everything he’s ever done, from his early career-establishers (1972’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God and 1982’s Fitzcarraldo) to his more recent documentaries (2016’s Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World, about the possible existential consequences of an Internet-driven world), along the way revealing much about what interests and fascinates him – in brief, everything.
He’s made movies about nomads, auctioneers, televangelists, monks, hot-air balloonists, ski-jumping woodcarvers, volcanic eruptions, cave paintings, grizzly-loving (and eventually grizzly-eaten) loner outdoorsmen, desolate Antarctic snowscapes – the list does not end. He’s been called “a genius,” “a madman,” “a visionary,” “the last great hallucinator in cinema” – and that list does not end either. Read the complete article on The Rolling Stone.