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WATCH: Remember Roger Ebert with This Moving Appreciation of His Writings on Werner Herzog

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! April 3, 2014 at 12:59PM

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of Roger Ebert's death and in memory of the late, great film critic who taught us all to love and appreciate film articulately, Fandor has put together a great video essay on Werner Herzog's "Aguirre: The Wrath of God" (1972), with snippets from Ebert's Great Movies review.
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Werner Herzog and Roger Ebert
Werner Herzog and Roger Ebert

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of Roger Ebert's death and in memory of the late, great film critic who articulately taught us all to love and appreciate film, Fandor's Kevin B. Lee has put together a great video essay on Werner Herzog's classic "Aguirre: The Wrath of God" (1972), with snippets from Ebert's Great Movies review. (Watch below.)

"Aguirre," an imaginative retelling of ruthless Basque-Spanish conquistador Don Lope de Aguirre's (played by the untouchable Klaus Kinski) treacherous journey down the Amazon River in search of El Dorado, was Ebert's favorite Herzog film. It placed high on his Sight & Sound poll of the greatest films of all time.

Ebert and the German auteur were longtime friends, so it's no surprise that in Ebert's memoir "Life Itself," Herzog gets a full chapter. It's a must-read for film fans, rife with moving anecdotes about their relationship and shared love of cinema. Here's an excerpt, in which Ebert recalls first meeting Herzog at the 1968 New York Film Festival:

I keenly remember how I felt, sitting on the floor next to his chair. Here was a young man unlike any I had ever met. He spoke clearly and directly of unusual ideas. He wasn't pitching or promoting. It was clear to him what his mission was. It was to film the world through the personalities of exalted eccentrics who defied all ordinary categories and sought a transcendent vision. Every one of his films has followed that same mission. Every one, I believe, is autobiographical--reflecting not the facts of his life, but his spirit. He is in the medieval sense a mystic.

Later this month, Ebertfest kicks off with a terrific lineup honoring the founding critic. It will open with the moving documentary "Life Itself," from "Hoop Dreams" director Steve James. (Here's our Sundance interview with Steve James.)


In other exciting news for cinephiles, Fandor has just inked an exclusive deal to stream 16 Werner Herzog films, including "Aguirre." More on that via Indiewire.

This article is related to: Roger Ebert (1942-2013), Werner Herzog, Werner Herzog, Video, Video, Ebertfest


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.