Documentary about the legendary director: “Werner Herzog – Radical Dreamer” | – Culture

Status: 24.10.2022 06:00 a.m

The impressive and thrilling documentary “Werner Herzog – Radical Dreamer” by Thomas von Steinaecker provides insights into the work and life of the exceptional director.

by Bettina Peulecke

“Who has managed to invent their very own accent, which the world then likes and imitates and finds funny?” With the very own accent that Wim Wenders is talking about here, in this case we are not talking about Werner Herzog’s cinematic accent, which he undoubtedly carried out into the world. Rather, Wenders speaks of Herzog’s unmistakable German-Bavarian accent when he speaks English and which has brought the director his own role as a character in the “Simpsons”.

Private and professional, both are discussed in this documentation, archive material is also included. His brothers remember that companions such as Wim Wenders or Volker Schlöndorff provide information about their colleagues, as do Hollywood stars with whom he worked. For example, Oscar winner Nicole Kidman, with whom Herzog filmed “Queen of the Desert”: “There’s something about him that’s very hypnotic,” she says. Director Chloé Zhao, who also won an Oscar, is fascinated to discover that Herzog has traveled to every corner of the world in search of his enchanting dreams.

Further information

His most famous films include “Fitzcarraldo”, “Nosferatu” and “Bad Lieutenant”. His collaboration with Klaus Kinski is legendary. more

“I live or I die with this project”

But sometimes it turned into nightmares, at least during production. For example, Herzog remembers filming “Fitzcarraldo” with Klaus Kinski, who plays an eccentric obsessed with the idea of ​​building an opera house in the middle of the jungle. The attempt to pull a steamer over a mountain is one of the iconic images in film history.

The director tells in the documentary that there were countless complications during the shooting: no money, technical problems, two plane crashes, but nothing that could have stopped him from making this film. Herzog doesn’t argue or hesitate, he has to do it and proclaims: “I live or I die with this project.”

Between vision and obsession

It is a fine line between vision and obsession that Herzog walks, which also becomes clear in the impressive and stirring documentation by Thomas von Steinaecker. The “classic” films of the 1970s and early 1980s are treated in the same way as Herzog’s “American period” from the mid-1990s, where his documentaries in particular caused a stir.

A scene from the movie

On the hunt for images the likes of which have never been seen in the cinema: Werner Herzog.

What makes Herzog’s films so extraordinary, and who is this man, where legend and truth overlap to this day? Herzog’s brothers also have their say – bombed out in Munich during the war, they grew up in a small village near the Tyrolean border: “The mother was the center and the absolute central figure for us,” says his brother Lucki Stipetić. “We didn’t have anyone else either. She was a qualified woman doctor and thus had quite a reputation in the village.”

Werner Herzog: “A good soldier for the cinema”

Werner Herzog himself only speaks English in the film and remembers that he was happy to grow up without a father, without a “supreme commander” as he puts it.

For long stretches, the image of someone being driven emerges, uncompromisingly and undeviatingly on the hunt for images the likes of which have never been seen in the cinema. His life has meaning when he can tell stories that exist in each of us. Werner Herzog is just trying to be “a good soldier for the cinema”.

And without a doubt – as this great film makes clear – he is exactly what the title says: a radical dreamer, a rare specimen, especially in today’s cinema landscape.

Werner Herzog – Radical Dreamer

Production year:
Country of manufacture:
Germany | United States
Additional info:
With Werner Herzog and others
Thomas von Steinacker
102 minutes
k. A.
Theatrical release:
27. October 2022

This topic in the program:

NDR Info | culture | 10/24/2022 | 7:55 a.m

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