in the last month and a half i’ve seen a number of herzog movies. i saw cobra verde at the tower, fitzcarraldo a week later, burden of dreams (which isn’t technically a herzog movie) two days later, my best fiend a week later and little dieter needs to fly on wednesday. by my birthday i hope to watch heart of glass (all the actors are hypnotized), this one movie starring klaus kinski (that i can’t remember the name of, not aguirre, but i’ll probably try and watch that one too), rescue dawn (in the theater) and room 666 (which features extensive interviews with herzog).
herzog is totally awesome. you watch his fiction films and they’re long and boring but occasionally have the weirdest and craziest shit you’ve ever seen in a movie like pulling a ferry boat up the side of a mountain or a beach filled with hundreds of amazons with kinski walking around training them for battle. the takes are long with a lot of improvisation, herzog uses a ton of non-actors (usually an indigenous tribe in the middle of some jungle) and the pacing is often excruciatingly slow. then there are always these long parts where herzog just films people doing real things like extracting sap from trees and turning it into rubber or grinding up sugar cane. but then his documentaries are super-planned out with sets and costumes and tons of footage not shot by herzog and they are some of the funniest movies i have ever seen. like in my best fiend, there’s some footage of herzog running into kinski at some film festival in colorado and herzog narrates, “i was very happy to see kinski even though i had only recently given up my plans to murder him.” or when herzog shows a military survival video produced by the us for soldiers heading of to vietnam. or when he’s talking about how all he sees in the jungle is murder and obscenity and death and chaos but he doesn’t hate the jungle, he loves it against his better judgment.
herzog may be the funniest person ever. i think it’s because he has such a bleak view of life and has to resort to humor so he doesn’t have to kill himself. maybe that’s von treir’s problem; he has the same kind of outlook, but isn’t as consistent with the humor.