The Films of Werner Herzog: Between Mirage and History
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A challenging range of films is covered offering the readers ways of understanding why, whatever the controversies surrounding Herzog and his films, he remains a major and popular international filmmaker.
Dreams, 12, 23, 30–1, 35 , 37–8, 135, 177 Burke, Edmund, 185–6, 193 Cabinet of Dr Caligari, The, 13, 90, 190 Cahiers du Cinéma, 6 Canary Islands, 9 Cannes Film Festival, 7, 27 Carroll, Noel, 73, 86, 163, 167, 180 Chopin, F., 107, 109 Cimino, Michael, 4 cinéma verité, 145 Cleere, Elizabeth, 41 Coleridge, S. T., 190 Coppola, Francis, 4, 9 Corliss, Richard, 163, 180 Corrigan, Timothy, 163, 180 Cott, Jonathan, 105, 111, 114, 116 Cotton Club, The, 4 Cox, Paul, 18 Dark Glow of the
of Herbert Achternbusch, 39–40; death in, 38; dreams and reality, 36–7; landscape, 32–3; literary merit, 39; Lotte Eisner and, 24–9, 36, 38; motivations for journey and diary, 24, 28; self-portrait of Herzog, 31–2, 37; sojourn into the primitive, 34–5 Once I Had a Beautiful Fatherland, 28 Oshima, Nagisa, 14, 51 OToole, Lawrence, 34, 37–8, 42, 105, 111, 117, 161, 180 Overbey, David, 117 Paris, Texas, 26 Pierce, C. S., 112 Precautions Against Fanatics (Massnahmen Gegen Fanatiker), 53, 54,
whirlpool) has similar significance, a fact (at least in the first example) recognized but deferred to by the men and challenged by Aguirre and his order that the guns and cannon be fired, even without a target. The dramatic core of both Signs of Life and Aguirre, the Wrath of God concerns their heroes’ confrontation, however brief and however ill-fated, with the universe’s vast antipathy, nature’s indifferent silence, and the fact of their “meatness.” But if these characters’ resistance to
stasis, and impulses to move and to make noise when others are still and subdued, constitute signs of life, are these also signs of hope for deliverance from the fact of mortality asserted by the films’ landscapes? To assess Herzog’s narrational attitude toward his heroes’ rebellions it is useful to pay close attention to the motifs of circles and lines in the representation of human activity. In Signs of Life Herzog’s use of the motif of the circle leads the viewer, with Stroszek, toward the
clearly resolved in favor of nature, the horse, whereas its rider, the clothed monkey, is a figure of scorn. While these images are at the periphery of Kaspar Hauser, the issues they raise are of central importance in the film. There are other echoes of Büchner’s Woyzeck in Kaspar Hauser as well: in the general negative attitude toward science, for instance, which treats Kaspar – as Woyzeck is treated – like an experimental animal, and which culminates in his autopsy. It hardly seems necessary