Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog

Updated Dec 08, 2019 at 05:48AM EST by Y F.

Added Jan 07, 2016 at 01:28PM EST by Ari Spool.

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Werner Herzog is a Bavarian filmmaker and film producer best known for his dramatic documentaries and narrative films, which often star non-actors or unusual actors in intense situations. Online, he is often noted for his unique narration technique, improbable background, and personality.


Born in 1942 in Germany and raised in a home with no running water, flush toilet, or telephone, Herzog began making films in the 1960s, during college, with a 35mm camera he stole from the Munich Film School. His first feature film, Signs of Life was released in 1968. Since then, he has made one to two films per year, beginning by alternating features and documentary, and later making all of them at once. as of January 7th, 2016, 18 fictional feature films and 27 documentary feature films, plus many short films. In addition, Herzog has extensive acting, screenwriting, and production credits.[1]

Left: Film trailer for Aguirre, the Wrath of God; Right: film trailer for Fitzcarraldo

Some of Herzog's most famous films include Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Fitzcarraldo (which won the best director award at Cannes in 1982), The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 1975), Grizzly Man, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Fata Morgana, Little Dieter Needs to Fly, and Into the Abyss.[2]

Left: film trailer for Grizzly Man; Right: Film trailer for Into the Abyss.

Herzog's films, both narrative and documentary, are known for their visceral, intense qualities. Herzog often uses non-professional actors or alternative methods of filming or acquiring film to create a sense that people are not "acting" in the films, but are rather more authentic. Of the actors he has collaborated with more than once, Klaus Kinski is most well known, and the history of their artistic duality is well-documented, including the facts that they have had many fights on set. Herzog has a great appreciation for music, especially operas, which he has also directed; he often uses music to dramatic effect in his films. He often narrates his own documentaries, modifying the action with philosophical pronouncements.[1]

Right: Trailer for Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans; Left: Trailer for Little Dieter Needs to Fly

Werner Herzog has made cameos on many television shows, usually playing himself or a Herzog-like character; these have included both Parks and Recreation, The Boondocks and Rick and Morty.[4]

Online History

Herzog does not maintain any social media presences, nor does his professional team. A Twitter account, which may or may not be official (it's not verified) has over 64,000 followers, but has not been updated since 2010.[5] The Herzog fandom is unstructured, but he has been the subject of many viral videos, including a video, based on an AMA he engaged in with two other directors,[6] where he revealed that his biggest fear was chickens (below left) and a parody film where an actor imitating Herzog narrated "Where's Waldo."

Inspirational Posters

Herzog is known for his slow, methodical way of speaking, and also for the things he says, which can often seem outlandish or extreme. One project to parody this aspect of his persona was the single topic blog Werner Herzog Inspirationals,[7] which combined Herzog quotes with motivational pictures in the style of Demotivational Posters. Founded on December 6th, 2014, the blog received international attention from news sources like Good and the Independent.

Ia photo by Charles Henry, https://www.flickr.com/photos/amarilloposters/15902207222 This was once a forest before it was dovered with vytaing that looks like water is in actuality O Ponds and lakes are spread out all over the land. The oil is treacherous because it reflects the sky. The oil is trying to disguise itself as water. 9 HARMONY There is no harmony in the universe. We have to get acquainted to this idea that there is no real harmony as we have conceived it

Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World

On January 4th, 2016 Herzog announced[8] that he had made a documentary about the history of the Internet, a drastic change in subject matter from his other documentaries, which tended to focus on more ancient or ephemeral topics. The film, entitled Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World, was set to premiere January 23rd, 2016, at the Sundance Film Festival.

Personal Life

Herzog's personal life is often a topic of interest, because of its improbability. For instance, his personal history, in which he claims to have never heard music or seen a film until his late teens, is wildly out of step with the career he has created. In addition, his relationships with creative peers and collaborators, have been documented widely, as in the Les Blank documentaries Burden of Dreams about the making of Fitzcarraldo, and Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (below left), about a bet he had with filmmaker and collaborator Erroll Morris. One incident that is well-known is when Herzog was shot on camera during an interview with the BBC; he called the bullet "not significant" and continued with the interview (below right).[1]

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