SANS SOLEIL. (1983, CHRIS MARKER) An image of three happy children on a windy day in Iceland links up with women at a cat memorial in Japan; Hitchcock's Vertigo re-created on the Bay Area locations where it was shot; an exchange of glances at a market in Guinea-Bissau; the connections and juxtapositions are extreme, but seemingly effortless. "One of the key non-fiction films of our time... it registers like a poem one might find in a time capsule." - Jonathan Rosenbaum.
Plus LES MAÎTRES FOUS (1955) "Jean Rouch's seminal ethnographic short about the Hauka of West Africa, whose violent trance rituals imitate and mock British colonialism." - Rosenbaum. "An absolute must." - Herzog.
(1995) Cuckoo portrait of Carlo Gesualdo, 16th Century nobleman, composer, and murderer, includes interviews with the people of Venosa about their favorite son; dramatic reenactments of colorful legends and sometimes out of tune performances of his beautiful, but notoriously difficult, madrigals.
"This is the documentary that really runs amok. One of the films closest to my heart." - Herzog.
(1994) In Bayreuth for his latest production of a Wagner opera, Herzog films himself as he comically banters with costume designer Kenji Yamamoto and works with architects and singers. The ultimate in self-referential documentaries.
(1979, CHRISTIAN WEISENBORN AND ERWIN KEUSCH) "None of my films is cinema verite. It's only the simplest form of truth." Herzog recalls youthful travels in Africa; "with rats nibbling my elbow"; opines on film-making: "Humiliations are an essential part in making films" and on working with actor Klaus Kinski; "temperamentally, he's inclined to hysteria". With clips from his features and documentaries from the 60s and 70s.
(2000, CHRISTIAN WEISENBORN AND RUDOLPH HERZOG) "Sometimes the ball is bewitched," beefs legendary soccer coach (of teams in 38 countries, including 6 in Germany alone) Rudi Gutendorf to pal Herzog. Plus Portrait Werner Herzog (1986) Herzog profiles...himself!
(1991) A day-long one-show-only celebration of the Indian Maharajah of Udaipur, a private theater with thousands of musicians and performers. Plus PILGRIMAGE (2001) Pilgrimages to the Virgin of Guadalupe, to the tomb of Saint Sergei in Zagorsk, Russia, and other shrines, focusing on the spirituality, fervor and suffering of the travelers.
(1989) Primping and parading before the opposite sex; just another beauty pageant - except this time it's the men doing it - for a nomadic tribe in the Sahara that consider themselves the most beautiful people on earth.
(1990) In the Central African Republic, journalist Michael Goldsmith (a former prisoner and torturee) questions a wife and some of the 50 odd children of ex-"emperor" (self-proclaimed) Jean-Bédel Bokassa and tours his former HQ, with archive footage of the blood-soaked 13-year reign intercut. (Herzog himself was briefly Bokassa's prisoner.)
How Much Wood Does A Woodchuck Chuck? / Ballad Of The Little Soldier
HOW MUCH WOOD... (1976) Deep in Pennsylvania Amish country, it's a fast-talker's Duel of the Titans as cattle auctioneers from around the country go for their championship, their nonstop dizzying spiels spiralling into "one of the most eccentric concert films of all time" (Christopher Long).
BALLAD OF THE LITTLE SOLDIER (1984, Herzog and Denis Reichle) Pre-pubescent Nicaraguan Contras recount their experiences fighting on the front lines. "Among the best work he's ever done... Mr. Herzog is scaling the peaks of his own, very personal cinema." - Vincent Canby, NY Times. Plus LAST WORDS (1967) A Greek islander withdrawing from life.
Bells From The Deep / Christ And Demons In The New Spain
BELLS FROM THE DEEP (1993) Faith, superstition and mysticism in Russia: a "grand sorcerer" who attempts a mass exorcism; tribes who croak like frogs to achieve meditation; devotees who crawl onto a frozen lake to view a lost city at its bottom (Herzog admitted he hired local winos to play the pilgrims), viewed without comment.
CHRIST AND DEMONS IN NEW SPAIN (1999) The conquest of Latin America by the Catholic Church and the consequences of it for today's religious life in that region.