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Rapturous Truth

Published by marco on

Werner Herzog has made many films and not one of them was boring, either to watch or to film (he famously “haul[ed] a boat up a mountainside in [his film] Fitzcarraldo … in the middle of the Amazonian rain forest, [because] audience will know if the shots are real”. His latest is Little Dieter Needs to Fly—a documentary about the only successful escape from a POW camp in Vietnam—with the unparalleled Christian Bale in the lead role. Roger Ebert wrote him a magnificent letter (linked below) thanking him for “ennobl[ing] the cinema when so many debase it”. His text is remarkably evocative as evidenced by the following citation:

“You did not go to Antarctica, you assure us at the outset, to film cute penguins. But you did film one cute penguin, a penguin that was disoriented, and was steadfastly walking in precisely the wrong direction—into an ice vastness the size of Texas. “And if you turn him around in the right direction,” you say, “he will turn himself around, and keep going in the wrong direction, until he starves and dies.” The sight of that penguin waddling optimistically toward his doom would be heartbreaking, except that he is so sure he is correct.”


Thanks to Ecstatic truth by Jim Emerson (Scanners) for the link.