Werner Herzog is one of the prolific filmmakers of our time. His films are usually set in distinct, distant landscapes, following characters that are often in conflict with nature. His films frequently feature characters or real people who attempt to change nature but are ultimately overwhelmed by it.
Born in Munich, he made his first film in 1962 and since then he has worked on over 60 films. He is known for films like ‘Aguirre der Zorn Gottes‘ (Aguirre, The Wrath of God, 1972), ‘Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht‘ (Nosferatu, 1978), ‘Lektionen in Finsternis‘ (Lessons of Darkness, 1992), ‘Little Dieter Needs to Fly‘ (1997), ‘Mein liebster Feind‘ (My Best Fiend, 1999), ‘Grizzly Man‘ (2005), ‘Encounters at the End of the World‘ (2007).
François Truffaut called Herzog as “the most important film director alive”, and rightly so. Herzog makes some of the most offbeat casting choices and often uses controversial techniques to elicit the desired performances.
Over the years, his process and narrative style have inspired thousands of filmmakers worldwide. ‘The Act of Killing‘ is one such example, directed by Joshua Oppenheimer. The Oscar-nominated documentary challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish. The success of this 2013 documentary is a clear indication of how Herzog continues to influence new age documentary cinema.
Moreover, it’s impossible to ignore what Werner Herzog has to say about filmmaking. In the following video, he answers questions ranging from his reasons as to why he took up filmmaking, to who does he make films for.
The video was directed by Joseph Toth and was shot during Herzog’s visit to Indiana University.