Monday, June 23, 2008

Herzog & Antarctica


Just a quick line into the ether-- but if you get the chance, go see the new Werner Herzog documentary about Antarctica: Encounters at the End of the World. Now, most people reading this know I am, ahem, a little obsessed with the giant, cold, Southern continent. For those that don't know, I wrote a play about Antarctica, pretend Antarctica, anyway.

That said-- SEE IT! It's full of obsessed, eccentric marine biologists, volcanologists, PhDs who wash dishes, a greenhouse-tending linguist, and one mad, unstoppable penguin who runs amok, into the mountains to a certain death. Really, what else could you possibly want?

Herzog narrates it himself. If I had my choice, I would have Werner Herzog provide the narration for my life, in real time. I think he may be completely mad, but he sees no reason to get excited about it. In the director's commentary for Fitzcarraldo (which is arguably just as entertaining as the movie itself, as it is the one or two most legendary shoots in the history of film), he calmly tells of how a crew member was bitten by a deadly poisonous snake, and how the crew member immediately picked up a chain-saw and cut off his own foot, thus saving his life. Mind you, this anecdote is told in the same matter of fact tone a more conventional director might use to speak about craft services, or perhaps an actor flubbing a line.

And while you're renting Herzog documentaries on my recommendation, you may as well watch My Best Fiend, too. If anyone knows where one can find a complete film of Klaus Kinski's Jesus Tour, please let me know.

This was a much longer posting than I had anticipated. While speaking of Antarctica-- if it melts, we all die. Now turn off that light in the next room!

4 comments:

That Fuzzy Bastard said...

Not complete, but there's at least a subtitled version of that clip here. There's something inspiring about a man who's that genuinely mad and yet not locked up. A personal favorite source of stories is the commentary track on the DVD of "Venom", in which the elegant English director tells the tale of the war between Oliver Reed and Klaus Kinski on set, as the two great egomaniacs went to war.

Carolyn Raship said...

Oh, fantastic. Egomaniacs going to war is comedy gold!

That Fuzzy Bastard said...

Oh yeah. Venom is not a good movie---it's okay, but not much more---but the commentary track is full of purest delight.

Julie said...

There are pictures of Kinski's psychotically gleaming Jesus face ALL OVER MY NEIGHBORHOOD. Will send you some.

Yay for Carolyn's blog! I'm happy.

jb