Sunday, July 08, 2007

More Werner

More interesting press for Werner Herzog.
"Filmmaking is athletics over aesthetics," Werner Herzog once said, and his astonishing body of work suggests a director with the physical and psychological fortitude of an ironman triathlete. He landed in a brutal Cameroon prison while chasing desert mirages for Fata Morgana (1970), traveled to a volcanic Caribbean island on the brink of explosion in La Soufrière (1977), and persuaded his crew to drag a steamboat over a mountain in the Amazon for Fitzcarraldo (1982). More recently, he pondered the awful fate of self-styled eco-warrior Timothy Treadwell in Grizzly Man (2005). The filmmaker's attraction to extremes—of climate, circumstance, and human endurance—reaches an apex in the documentary Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1997), which followed the former U.S. Navy pilot Dieter Dengler back to the Laotian jungle where he made a miraculous escape from a POW camp during the American war with Vietnam.

Herzog now revisits the harrowing Little Dieter story with the feature film Rescue Dawn, shot in northwest Thailand and starring Christian Bale as Dengler, who survived a plane crash, torture, and starvation before he was rescued in 1966. To watch the two films back-to-back is not only to soak up Herzog's epic fascination with the cruelties of man and nature, but also to rediscover how nimbly his films elude easy categorization in their pursuit of what he calls "ecstatic truth." That is to say: There is fiction, there is nonfiction, and then there is Herzog.

Read the entire article here.

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