Herzog on Herzog

“My childhood was totally separate from the outside world. As a child I knew nothing of cinema, and even telephones did not exist for me. A car was an absolute sensation. Sachrang was such an isolated place at that time – though it is only about an hour and a half’s drive from Munich – that I did not know what a banana was until I was twelve and I did not make my first telephone call until I was seventeen. Our house had no water-flushed toilet, in fact no running water at all. We had no mattresses; my mother would stuff dried ferns into a linen bag and in winter it was so cold I would wake up in the morning to find a layer of ice on my blanket from frozen breath. But it was wonderful to grow up like that. We had to invent our own toys, we were full of imagination, and the guns and arms we found – remnants of the SS soldiers – just became part of what we owned. As a boy I was part of the local gang and invented some kind of flat sailing arrow which you would throw with a whip-like action, which made it sail more than 600 feet. A wonderful invention. Very difficult to aim, but it would sail on and on and on. We invented an entire world around. Part of me has never really adjusted to the things I find around me even today. I am still not very good on the phone. I jump whenever it rings. It might sound bizarre to people today, but things like our discovery of the arms cache made for a wonderful childhood.

Everyone thinks that growing up in the ruins of the cities was a terrible experience, and for the parents who lost absolutely everything I have no doubt that it was. But for the children it truly was the most marvellous of times. Kids in the cities took over whole bombed-out blocks and would declare the remnants of buildings their own to play in where great adventures were acted out. You really do not have to commiserate with these kids. Everyone I know who spent their early childhood in the ruins of post-war Germany raves about that time. It was anarchy in the best sense of the word. There were no ruling fathers around and no rules to follow. We had to invent everything from scratch.”


Tell me about your ideal film school.

“This is something we can talk about later when we discuss Film Lesson, the programmes I made for Austrian television, but let me say here that there are some very basic skills that any filmmaker must have. First of all, learn languages. One also needs to be able to type and to drive a car. It is like the knights of old who had to be able to ride, wield a sword and play the lute. At my Utopian film academy I would have students do athletic things with real physical contact, like boxing, something that would teach them to be unafraid. I would have a loft with a lot of space where in one corner there would be a boxing ring. Students would train every evening from 8 to 10 with a boxing instructor: sparring, somersaults (backwards and forwards), juggling, magic card tricks.

Whether or not you would be a filmmaker by the end I do not know, but at least you would come out as an athlete. My film school would allow young people who want to make films to experience a certain climate of excitement of the mind. This is what ultimately creates films and nothing else. It is not technicians that film schools should be producing, but people with a real agitation of mind. People with spirit, with a burning flame within them.”

Warner Herzog

“Herzog on Herzog”  by Paul Cronin

Get used to the bear behind you


Kad savete daje Warner Herzog onda to ovako izgleda:

1. Always take the initiative.

2. There is nothing wrong with spending a night in jail if it means getting the shot you need.

3. Send out all your dogs and one might return with prey.
4. Never wallow in your troubles; despair must be kept private and brief.
5. Learn to live with your mistakes.
6. Expand your knowledge and understanding of music and literature, old and modern.
7. That roll of unexposed celluloid you have in your hand might be the last in existence, so do something impressive with it.
8. There is never an excuse not to finish a film.
9. Carry bolt cutters everywhere.
10. Thwart institutional cowardice.
11. Ask for forgiveness, not permission.
12. Take your fate into your own hands.
13. Learn to read the inner essence of a landscape.
14. Ignite the fire within and explore unknown territory.
15. Walk straight ahead, never detour.
16. Manoeuvre and mislead  but always deliver.
17. Don’t be fearful of rejection.
18. Develop your own voice.
19. Day one is the point of no return.
20. A badge of honor is to fail a film theory class.
21. Chance is the lifeblood of cinema.
22. Guerrilla tactics are best.
23. Take revenge if need be.
24. Get used to the bear behind you.

Day with Warner Herzog – online films

“If I had to climb into hell and wrestle the devil himself for one of my films, I would do it.”

Wheel od Time


Land of Silence and Darkness


From One Second To The Next


Fata Morgana


Where The Green Ants Dream


Even Dwarfs Started Small


Wodaabe: Herdsmen of the Sun


Grizzly Man


Bells from the Deep


Into The Abyss