Werner Herzog, 1980, speaking about TV and advertising and how films function while eating his shoe in public to help Errol Morris get his first major film released. See also The Occasional Diary Entries of German Director Werner Herzog. I wish I could speak as well in a second language as Herzog does, and I like his sense of the impoverishment of our shared language of images, an observation that seems completely undated in 2010.
Click below for some favourite Herzog quotes:
Our children will hate us for not throwing hand grenades into every TV station because of commercials.
To me, adventure is a concept that applies only to those men and women of earlier historical times, like the medieval knights who traveled into the unknown. The concept has degenerated constantly since then… I absolutely loathe adventurers, and I particularly hate this old pseudo-adventurism where the mountain climb becomes about confronting the extremes of humanity.
It is my firm belief, and I say this as a dictum, that all these tools now at our disposal, these things part of of this explosive evolution of means of communication, mean we are now heading for an era of solitude. Along with this rapid growth of forms of communication at our disposal – be it fax, phone, email, Internet or whatever – human solitude will increase in direct proportion.
Coincidences always happen if you keep your mind open, while storyboards remain the instruments of cowards who do not trust in their own imagination and who are slaves of a matrix… If you get used to planning your shots based solely on aesthetics, you are never that far from kitsch.
Civilization is like a thin layer of ice upon a deep ocean of chaos and darkness.
… So, you have to be daring to do things like this, because the world is not easily accepting of filmmaking. There will always be some sort of an obstacle, and the worst of all obstacles is the spirit of bureaucracy. You have to find your way to battle bureaucracy. You have to outsmart it, to outgut it, to outnumber it, to outfilm them — that`s what you have to do.
[On the ending of Stroszek (1977):] “When I saw the dancing chicken, I knew I would create a grand metaphor — for what, I don’t know.”
There are certainly laws and elements that make a film more accessible to mainstream audiences. If you’ve got Tom Cruise as a strongman, I’m sure it would have larger audiences, but it wouldn’t have the same substance.
It is not only my dreams, my belief is that all these dreams are yours as well. The only distinction between me and you is that I can articulate them. And that is what poetry or painting or literature or film making is all about… it`s as simple as that. I make films because I have not learned anything else and I know I can do it to a certain degree. And it is my duty because this might be the inner chronicle of what we are. We have to articulate ourselves, otherwise we would be cows in the field.
Perhaps I seek certain utopian things, space for human honour and respect, landscapes not yet offended, planets that do not exist yet, dreamed landscapes. Very few people seek these images today.
Strangely enough, I’ve always believed that my stories were mainstream stories; the films are narrated in a way that you never have a boring moment.