Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences Tribeca Film Festival Matches George Lucas with Stephen Colbert: “I’m gonna tear you a new one, George" Tribeca Film Festival Matches George Lucas with Stephen Colbert: “I’m gonna tear you a new one, George" 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work The Eerie Connection Between 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' and 'Tomorrowland' The Eerie Connection Between 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' and 'Tomorrowland' Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

Werner Herzog Talks 'Into the Abyss,' Looks "deep into the heart of ourselves" (video)

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 3, 2011 at 8:18AM

One reason that Werner Herzog's docs are so compelling and entertaining is that his powerful personality is all over them, commenting, narrating, querying. Herzog's docs, as lauded as they are, are often overlooked by the Oscar documentary branch, which nominated while Encounters at the End of the World but did not recognize Grizzly Man, Into the Abyss and Cave of Forgotten Dreams (which was not screened in 3-D). (Michael Moore cites these oversights in his successful quest for changing the Academy rules.) "It's not easy to figure out how the system works," says Herzog. "It doesn't give me sleepless nights. This one is more what they think the documentary is supposed to be. It's so straightforward. No radioactive albino crocodiles. No commentary."
0
Herzog Talks Into the Abyss, Opens DOC NYC, Looks "deep into the heart of ourselves"
Werner Herzog

One reason that Werner Herzog's docs are so compelling and entertaining is that his powerful personality is all over them, commenting, narrating, querying.  Herzog's docs, as lauded as they are, are often overlooked by the Oscar documentary branch, which nominated while Encounters at the End of the World but did not recognize Grizzly Man, Into the Abyss and Cave of Forgotten Dreams (which was not screened in 3-D). (Michael Moore cites these oversights in his successful quest for changing the Academy rules.) "It's not easy to figure out how the system works," says Herzog. "It doesn't give me sleepless nights. This one is more what they think the documentary is supposed to be. It's so straightforward. No radioactive albino crocodiles. No commentary."

True, Herzog's Into the Abyss is an almost shocking high-wire act in its simplicity. While we hear Herzog's voice asking questions of a series of people who were either perpetrators or people impacted by a senseless Texas crime spree, there is no narration, no embellishment. This is stark, powerful filmmaking at its best as the ever-curious Herzog digs into "life and death and the families of victims," he says in our flip cam Telluride interview, below. "I am not in the business of establishing guilt or innocence. This is not an issue film. I want to look deeper into the human condition. The goal is to look deep inside the heart of ourselves."

Herzog chose to grill several Death Row prisoners --one of whom he interviewed eight days before his execution. Another one somehow impregnates the woman he eventually marries, who fell in love with him while he was in prison; she is pregnant during Herzog's interview, and her eventual husband's life is saved by a heartfelt plea from his father, who is also serving a life sentence. Herzog chose the crime because it was so senseless. "Three people died for the purpose of a car they were in possession of for 72 hours," he says. It fascinates him that the hijacked vehicle wound up in an impound lot with a tree growing through it.

Next up: several fiction films are in the works, as well as an Investigation/Discovery mini-series of one-hour programs focused on individual death row inmates.

This article is related to: Awards, Festivals, Genres, Independents, Video, Interviews , Exhibition, Oscars, Toronto, Telluride, Documentaries, IFC, 3D


E-Mail Updates