Here’s how this week’s arts and culture column begins:
The German filmmaker Werner Herzog aims high. “I seek certain utopian things,” he says, “space for human honour and respect, landscapes not yet offended, planets that do not exist.”
I’ve written here of “Land of Silence and Darkness,” the 1971 documentary on the deaf-blind many consider his finest film.
He’s perhaps best known for “Aguirre: The Wrath of God” and “Grizzly Man.” You can stream some of Herzog’s other work on youtube, including “How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck” (1976) (World Livestock Auctioneer Championship), “Gesualdo: Death for Five Voices” (1995) (Renaissance prince and sacred music composer who stabbed his wife and her lover to death), and “Herdsmen of the Sun” (1989) (includes an unforgettable clip of Saharan nomadic Wodaabe tribesmen performing their mating dance to the strains of Gounod’s “Ave Maria”).
Herzog was raised in a remote German village in the Bavarian Mountains. His parents were divorced and his father was physically and emotionally absent.
“I was very much alone in my early childhood,” he has said. “I was quite silent and wouldn’t speak for days…I was very dangerous, my character was peculiar; it’s almost as if I had rabies.”
READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.