I've had some really nice responses to my Werner Herzog/Rogue Film School blogs, and just want to share a couple. My friend Delia Falconer, a wonderful novelist (The Service of Clouds, which she's probably better known for, but my favourite is the exquisite, deceptively simple The Lost Thoughts of Soldiers, which I've linked to here), wrote this:
"I can't claim serious cinephilia, but, my god, WH has had a huge impact on me as a fiction writer, so I really responded to your piece. I remember walking past the Valhalla one afternoon, stopping in to see The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (never heard of Herzog, just thought at 20 the title sounded like the sort of serious thing I ought to see): I was bored and confused for the first 20 minutes, then -- what a revelation. I've thought a lot about why I love WH's films so much and I think much of their power for me is in their avoidance of close-ups. I love the distancing, the lack of movement in a lot of his medium and long-shots, as if I'm almost watching a different medium, something pre-Renaissance, from before humanist traditions, let alone film, which I find enormously exciting: it's something that I've tried to capture in my second book.
"I also love his juxtaposition of narrative strands, (Bells from the Deep being a personal favourite), and his balancing of those strands with the long shots of that frozen lake; and his use, at the risk of sounding pretentious, of the "filmic-ness" of film itself. There is that extraordinary moment in Grizzly Man, where he just runs Treadwell's set-ups of a sun-struck Alaskan glade, which becomes unspeakably haunting. He says something quite fantastic in his voice-over, which I think is: "Sometimes things have their own magic, their own mysterious stardom." That seems right to me for poetry, and also, at times, for prose-poetry..."
Lost Thoughts of Soldiers link:
Another friend, the artist Emma de Clario, had this startling and beautiful revelation back in January when I first posted about the weekend:
"mmmm... he had a relationship with my mum when I was eight or so, he was in melbourne making a film with paul cox and I remember him reading my sister and I stories at bed time.......I remember because he read fairy tales in the old fashioned way, they were terrifying and magical, he was too."
In a message this week Emma added, when I asked for permission to recycle her January post:
"it was 1980... in melbourne, nth fitzroy...mum met him through paul cox when they made that green ant film in the desert... she saw him for a year or so I think... most of it long distance... I remember her saying that he was too german!"
(Emma link: http://www.marsgallery.com.au/view-artist.php?id=67&gid=118&s=2 )