Monday, February 21, 2011


i have a draft on Herzog that will remain unfinished for a bit, but having just finished BROTHER'S KEEPER i wanted to revisit the basic idea - i think Herzog is cruel*.  a while back i happened to pair GRIZZLY MAN and THE WILD PARROTS OF TELEGRAPH HILL (i don't recall the level of consciousness about it).  it occurred to me that PARROTS had many elements that might attract Herzog - likewise here, with KEEPER - but it seems also obvious that if he had worked either of these projects, he would have belittled the subjects, as he does with Treadwell.  both films would have been turned from beautiful portraits ethically told to quirky canvases for Herzog to pontificate about this or that, co-centering himself with the ostensible subjects.  it is somewhat shocking to me that Michael Moore is jeered with slurs of being self-congratulatory and self-aggrandizing while Herzog is not. i guess we must wait for Herzog to get fat or politically leftist

* i've been called out on twitter by Robert Greene, via his prewarcinema handle, that Herzog is not cruel, not a 'humanist' film-maker, and follows different interests.  perhaps my calling Herzog out as cruel is sensational, but as above, i am suggesting that he is not interested in making the types of films - à la PARROTS or KEEPER - that are loving and humane. that if we put our Herzog filters on the stories and characters of these two films it is not difficult to imagine VERY different outcomes.  clearly Herzog is after something different, that is my point.  the question becomes what then is he after and what value does it have? my current short answer is that his project is largely narcissistic and that the moments of curiosity he displays don't get us very far - certainly not as far as he, and many of his adoring fans, might suggest.  (keeping in mind that the stakes are low for this critique :)

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