Werner Herzog: Ecstatic Truth and Other Useless Conquests (Hardcover)

Werner Herzog: Ecstatic Truth and Other Useless Conquests Cover Image
By Kristoffer Hegnsvad, Claire Thomson (Translated by)
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Werner Herzog came to fame in the 1970s as the European new wave explored new cinematic ideas. With films like Signs of Life (1968); Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972); The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974); and Fitzcarraldo (1982), Herzog became the subject of public debate, particularly due to his larger than life characters, often played by the wild Klaus Kinski. After the success of his documentary Grizzly Man (2005), Herzog became a leading force in a new form of hybrid documentary, and his tough attitude toward life and film made him a director’s director for a new generation of aspiring filmmakers. Kristoffer Hegnsvad’s award-winning book guides the reader through films depicting gangster priests, bear whisperers, shoe eating, revolutionary filmmakers . . . and a penguin. It is full of rare insights from Herzog’s otherwise secretive Rogue Film School, and features interviews with Herzog.

About the Author

Kristoffer Hegnsvad is a writer, documentary filmmaker, and the film and television editor and critic at Dagbladet Politiken, Denmark’s biggest daily newspaper. He is the director of Looking for Exits: Conversations with a Wingsuit Artist and Laamb.

Claire Thomson is associate professor in the School of European Languages, Culture and Society at University College London, where her research centers on Danish cinema. She is the author of Short Films for a Small Nation: Danish Informational Film 1935–1965.

Praise For…

“Hegnsvad’s book about the German filmmaker Werner Herzog is not a journalistic examination of cinema, but a philosophical journey into the creative workshop of a remarkable artist. Through conversational partners like Benjamin, Adorno, Nietzsche, and Deleuze, the book deals with questions like: What is cinema? What is the relationship between imagery and truth? Different concepts of the movie director—as philosopher, ethnologist, explorer, and scientist—are also discussed. It’s a study about what it requires to be curious about the world, about life, and about pushing the limits when it comes to how this curiosity is pursued.”
— Modern Times Review

“Hegnsvad has written an insightful and well-communicated book, which provides independent and new insights into Werner Herzog’s films.”
— Danish Arts Foundation, "Ten Best Books of 2018," on the Danish edition

"Solitary searcher and skillful self-promoter Werner Herzog is an artist whose cinematic visions, fictional or not, are invariably documentaries about himself. Curious and awed, his erudite sometime student Hegnsvad reveals a recondite Herzog personality no less fascinating than his films."
— J. Hoberman, author of "Film After Film"

"Hegnsvad’s book is a breathtaking and beautifully illustrated journey through Herzog’s many conquests. It is meant for anyone who wants to know what goes on at the Rogue Film School or acquire insight into the director’s exploits without having to drag a ship over a mountain, walk from Vienna to Munich, or eat their own shoes. If you've ever found yourself longing to become a member of Herzog’s guerrilla band of gangster priests, you will probably enjoy this book."
— Brad Prager, professor of German and film studies, University of Missouri

"In this lively and perceptive book, Hegnsvad stages a wonderful encounter between the work of cinema's most peripatetic master, and the nomadic thinking that can deepen our appreciation and solicit our participation in Werner Herzog's marvelous life journey."
— James Schamus
Product Details
ISBN: 9781789144109
ISBN-10: 1789144108
Publisher: Reaktion Books
Publication Date: September 10th, 2021
Pages: 256