Werner Herzog on Documentary

If I were only fact based the book of books in literature would be the Manhattan phone directory. Four million entries, everything correct. But it dusts[?] out of my ears and I do not know do they dream at night? Does Mr. Jonathan Smith cry in his pillow at night? We do not know anything when we check all the correct entries in the phone directory. I’m not this kind of a filmmaker. I’m not this kind of a filmmaker(4:33-5:10)

3 thoughts on “Werner Herzog on Documentary”

  1. Sorry about that, chief. I was afraid of snafus of that sort so that’s why I transcribed the relevant bits. I’m not really sure what Herzog does, but I’m certain that it deforms the edges of documentary. I haven’t seen this one yet, but I remember yelling at the screen during Encounters at the End of the World ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1093824/ ) for him to please shut up. He talked over all of the people he was documenting, preventing them from effectively telling their own story. Hardly a non-intrusive technique.
    That said, I do think it helps in understanding what documentary is by examining what may offend or distort the scene at hand. I think what he’s really arguing here is that facts distort reality as much his documentaries.
    Ultimately, I think you are right about the parodic element. Herzog is more a master of self-parody than a master of documentary. The fit with Colbert is perfect.

  2. Well it was very interesting seeing the above mentioned “documentary” without being sure what it was. That was rather trippy because of the unreadable dialogue between documentary signifiers and, for want of a better term, wtf. So the effect was exactly to make me think quite a lot about what I want from a documentary.
    I recommend seeing it as long as you strengthen your appreciation of the absurd. A friend who saw it was so furious with Herzog for fucking up the only chance anyone will apparently ever get to film inside the cave that she nearly had an embolism.

Comments are closed.