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Werner Herzog's Prison Doc Now Titled 'Gazing Into The Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale Of Life'

by Kevin Jagernauth
June 20, 2011 9:00 AM
3 Comments
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Though he can be uneven at times, Werner Herzog's quest for ecstatic truth -- which can sometimes mean making up the existence of mutated albino crocodiles -- is always compelling, interesting and sometimes, just plain weird. But his next effort, if anything, should certainly be sobering.

We've known about Herzog's prison/death row documentary for a while now. Earlier in the year, it was revealed to have the title “Death Row” with Investigation Discovery said to be on board to broadcast the documentary stateside, which will focus on four men and one woman. Instead of focusing on their guilt or innocence, the film will allow them to speak for themselves, utilizing little in the way of music or voice-over narration. Now a few more details have sprung forth.

The doc now has a much lengthier title -- "Gazing Into The Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale Of Life" -- and the subjects are a pretty hardened bunch with "two men convicted of triple murder, another who killed his girlfriend and her two mentally retarded sons, and a woman -- one of only 10 on Texas' death row -- charged with abducting a newborn baby and killing the child's mother." So yeah, it looks like at least one of the subjects has been dropped from the film, but this should be some truly fascinating viewing.

ZDF Enterprises are handling the film worldwide (except the U.S. and U.K.) and there's still no word on when it will be hitting the cable channel on our shores. But you can go see "Cave Of Forgotten Dreams" right now and incidentally, with $4 million in ticket sales (really) it's the highest grossing indie documentary of the year so far. Not bad. [Variety]

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3 Comments

  • John | August 7, 2011 5:00 AMReply

    Why would this film be considered questionable?

  • Michael | June 20, 2011 10:02 AMReply

    This sounds promising, but honestly I'm just so psyched that Cave of Forgotten Dreams has grossed as much as it has. It's about as niche appeal as a film can get, and yet it's been one of the year's top-grossing independent documentaries. Questionable quality aside, that's not bad at all.

  • Nik Grape | June 20, 2011 9:52 AMReply

    Even though I prefer his feature length fiction stuff to his docs, Id still watch anything this man directs.

    This doc sounds completely fascinating but the lack of voice over for a Herzog doc should be considered a violation of some kind.

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