Werner Herzog eats his shoe. He indulges little Dieter’s need to fly, accompanying the former fighter pilot and Vietnam vet back to the spot where he became a POW. He asks the Internet about its dreams, in Into the Abyss he stares into the bottomless pit of the personal void of condemned murderers on death row or that of a former executioner. He sets out to trace the travels of a nomadic tribe across the Sahara, surrounds himself with grizzlies, and in Herakles, his first work of documentary film, he zeroes in on the twitching muscles of bodybuilders.
Werner Herzog is simply put one of the world’s most highly regarded documentary and feature film directors. He, who harnessed the madness of Klaus Kinski from behind the camera in the 1970s in works such as Aguirre, the Wrath of God, is not only presenting his new documentary Meeting Gorbachev as the opening film at DOK Leipzig – his documentary work is also the focus of a Homage bearing the title ECSTATIC TRUTHS. HOMAGE WERNER HERZOG. In the scope of this tribute, Herzog will also be present to engage with the festival audience personally in a special artists talk.
“This special programme shows a cross section of Werner Herzog’s documentary work, which runs through his entire oeuvre,” according to programmer Ralph Eue.
No matter whether one considers his documentary or feature films, Herzog’s style remains beyond compare: all of the filmmaker’s work exhibits an unabashedly subjective perspective of events, featuring his artist-self as an integral part of the narrative. His protagonists are human beings in extreme situations, individuals to whom the filmmaker lends his voice as an off-camera speaker – and whose view of the world he documents from a marvelling distance, often bears a healthy dose of irony and absurdity. Herzog transforms that which appears ludicrous into the golden thread running through the body of his documentary film work: “Herzog is a master of mixing fact and fiction in service of a deeper reality,” comments curator Kristina Jaspers, who assembled this special programme. Herzog makes ample use of stylisation, imagination and the occasional “counterfeit image” to arrive at this result, which he refers to as “ecstatic truth”.
The DOK Film Talk "Ecstatic Truths. A conversation with Werner Herzog" will take place on tuesday, 30 October at 10:30am in Kupfersaal (Kupfergasse 2, 04109 Leipzig). Tickets will be available from 10 October.