Kevin Jackson

Grizzled Man

Werner Herzog: A Guide for the Perplexed


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Werner Herzog is much more than just a filmmaker. He is an adventurer, an explorer, an athlete, a guru, a daredevil man of action, a pilgrim, a keen football player and cook, a curmudgeon and a crank. He is, possibly, a complete maniac. The great Pauline Kael, in an enviably apt phrase, called him a ‘metaphysical Tarzan’. He is, almost certainly, the only director to have filmed on all seven continents, and has come close to death several times on the journey. He is a ferocious autodidact and a scholar of the classics, who carries a copy of Livy with him on every shoot. A few years ago, while being interviewed in the open air by the BBC in Los Angeles, he was shot at by a random sniper. He carried on talking while the film crew hit the floor. He thought they were pitiful cowards.

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