Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog

Infobox actor
name = Werner Herzog

imagesize =
caption = Werner Herzog in Bruxelles, 2007.
birthname = Werner H. Stipetić
othernames =
birthdate = birth date and age|mf=yes|1942|9|5
location = Munich, Germany
occupation = film director, screenwriter and producer
yearsactive = 1962-present
baftaawards = Best Foreign Language Film
Fitzcarraldo (1983)
spouse = Martje Grohmann,
Christine Maria Ebenberger,
Lena Pisetski (1999–)
children =
website = http://www.wernerherzog.com

Werner Herzog (born Werner H. Stipetić; [ [http://www.filmreference.com/film/80/Werner-Herzog.html Werner Herzog Biography (1942-) ] ] September 5, 1942) is a German film director, screenwriter, actor, and opera director.

He is often associated with the German New Wave movement (also called New German Cinema), along with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Margarethe von Trotta, Volker Schlöndorff, Wim Wenders and others. His films often feature heroes with impossible dreams or people with unique talents in obscure fields.

Early life and family

Herzog was born Werner Stipetić (pronounced|stɪpɛtɪtʃ) in Munich. He adopted his father's name Herzog, which means "duke" in German, when his father returned from a prisoner of war camp after World War II.Bissell, Tom. "The Secret Mainstream: Contemplating the mirages of Werner Herzog". "Harper's". December 2006.] cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Werner Herzog on the Story Behind 'Rescue Dawn' |url=http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11782309 |quote= |publisher=Fresh Air |date=October 27, 1998 |accessdate=2007-06-21 ] His family moved to the remote bavarian village of Sachrang (nested in the Chiemgau Alps), after the house next to theirs was destroyed during the bombing at the close of World War II. When he was 12, he and his family moved back to Munich and shared an apartment with Klaus Kinski in Elisabethstraße in Munich-Schwabing. About this, Herzog recalled, "I knew at that moment that I would be a film director and that I would direct Kinski".

The same year, Herzog was told to sing in front of his class at school and he adamantly refused. He was almost expelled for this and until the age of 18 listened to no music, sang no songs and studied no instruments. He later said that he would easily give 10 years from his life to be able to play an instrument. At 14 he was inspired by an encyclopedia entry about film-making which he says provided him with "everything I needed to get myself started" as a film-maker - that, and the 35 mm camera that the young Herzog stole from the Munich Film School. He studied at the University of Munich despite earning a scholarship to Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He supposedly dropped out in a matter of days and made his way to Mexico where he worked in a rodeo. Fact|date=August 2007

In the early 1960s Herzog worked night shifts as a welder in a steel factory to help fund his first films.

Herzog has been married three times and has had three children. In 1967, Herzog married Martje Grohmann, with whom he had a son in 1973, Rudolph Amos Achmed. In 1980 his daughter Hanna Mattes was born to Eva Mattes. In 1987, Herzog married Christine Maria Ebenberger. Their son, Simon David Alexander Herzog, was born in 1989. In 1999 he married Lena Pisetski. They now live in Los Angeles.

Criticism and trademarks

Herzog's films have received considerable critical acclaim and achieved popularity on the art house circuit. They have also been the subject of controversy in regard to their themes and messages, especially the circumstances surrounding their creation. A notable example is "Fitzcarraldo", in which the obsessiveness of the central character was mirrored by the director during the making of the film. His treatment of subjects has been characterized as Wagnerian in its scope, as "Fitzcarraldo" and his later film "Invincible" (2001) are directly inspired by opera, or operatic themes. He is proud of never using storyboards and often improvising large parts of the script, as he explains on the commentary track to "Aguirre, The Wrath of God".

One recurring symbol running through Herzog's films is chickens, which Herzog fears. They appear in: [Werner Herzog audio commentary to DVD of "Signs of Life"]
*"Game in the Sand" centers around a chicken
*"Signs of Life" features a chicken buried up to its neck in a mound of sand
*"Signs of Life" and "The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser" feature chicken hypnosis
*"Aguirre, The Wrath of God" chickens are thrown over a cliff
*"Even Dwarfs Started Small" features cannibalistic chickens, and several sequences of dwarfs throwing chickens
*"Stroszek" ends with a long shot of a dancing chicken
*"Invincible" features a tale about a man who thinks himself to be a rooster
*"The White Diamond" features a Guyanese man who adores his pet rooster and wishes to bring it up with him when offered a ride on an airship



Besides using movie stars, German, American and otherwise, Herzog is known for using people from the locality in which he is shooting. Especially in his documentaries, he uses locals to benefit his, as he calls it, "ecstatic truth", using footage of them both playing parts and being themselves.

Herzog has a small list of actors who regularly appear in his films, and they are:

*Klaus Kinski: "Aguirre, The Wrath of God", "", "Woyzeck", "Fitzcarraldo", and "Cobra Verde". In 1999 Herzog directed and narrated the documentary film "My Best Fiend", a retrospective on his often rocky relationship with Kinski.
*Bruno S. in "The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser" and "Stroszek"
*Eva Mattes in "Woyzeck" and "Stroszek"
*José Lewgoy in "Fitzcarraldo" and "Cobra Verde"
*Brad Dourif in "Scream of Stone", "The Wild Blue Yonder" and also in filming ""
*Clemens Scheitz in "The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser", "Heart of Glass", "Stroszek" and "Nosferatu the Vampyre"
*Volker Prechtel in "Heart of Glass", "Woyzeck" and "Scream of Stone"
*Josef Bierbichler in "Heart of Glass" and "Woyzeck"
*Peter Berling in "" and "Cobra Verde"


Herzog and his films have won and been nominated for many awards over the years. Herzog's first important award was Silver Bear for his first feature film "Signs of Life" ("Nosferatu the Vampyre" was also nominated for Golden Bear in 1979). Most notably, Herzog won the best director award for "Fitzcarraldo" at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival. On the same Festival, but a few years earlier (in 1975) his movie "The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser" won The Special Price of Jury (also known as 'Silver Palm'). Other films directed by Herzog nominated for Golden Palm are: "Woyzeck" and "Where the green ants dream". His films were also nominated at many other very important festivals all around the world: César Awards ("Aguirre, The Wrath of God"), Emmy Awards ("Little Dieter Needs to Fly"), European Film Awards ("My Best Fiend") and Venice Film Festival ("Scream of Stone" and "The Wild Blue Yonder").

In 1987 he and his half-brother Lucki Stipetic won the Bavarian Film Awards for Best Producing, for the film "Cobra Verde". [http://www.bayern.de/Anlage19170/PreistraegerdesBayerischenFilmpreises-Pierrot.pdf]

In 2002 he won the "Dragon of Dragons Honorary Award" during Cracow Film Festival in Cracow.

Herzog was honored at the 49th San Francisco International Film Festival, receiving the [http://fest06.sffs.org/awards/werner_herzog.php 2006 Film Society Directing Award] . Four of his films have been shown at the San Francisco International Film Festival throughout the years: " [http://history.sffs.org/films/film_details.php?id=2180&search_by=2&searchfield=werner%20herzog Herdsmen of the Sun] " in 1990, " [http://history.sffs.org/films/film_details.php?id=461&search_by=2&searchfield=werner%20herzog Bells from the Deep] " in 1993, " [http://history.sffs.org/films/film_details.php?id=2787&search_by=2&searchfield=werner%20herzog Lessons of Darkness] " in 1993, and " [http://history.sffs.org/films/film_details.php?id=5562&search_by=2&searchfield=werner%20herzog Wild Blue Yonder] " in 2006. Herzog's April 2007 appearance at the Ebertfest in Champaign, IL earned him the Golden Thumb Award, and an engraved glockenspiel given to him by a young film maker inspired by his films. "Grizzly Man", directed by Herzog, won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. "Encounters at the End of the World" won the award for Best Documentary at the 2008 Edinburgh International Film Festival.


Early films

#"Herakles" (1962)
#"Game in The Sand" (1964)
#"Last Words" (1967)
#"The Unprecedented Defence of the Fortress Deutschkreuz" (1967)


#"Signs of Life" (1968)
#"Precautions Against Fanatics" (1969)
#"Even Dwarfs Started Small" (1970)
#"Land of Silence and Darkness" (1971)
#"Fata Morgana" (1971)
#"Aguirre, the Wrath of God" (1972)
#"The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner" (1974)
#"The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser" (1974)
#"How much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck" (1976)
#"No One Will Play With Me" (1976)
#"Heart of Glass" (1976)
#"La Soufrière" (1977)
#"Stroszek" (1977)
#"Nosferatu the Vampyre" (1979)
#"Woyzeck" (1979)
#"Fitzcarraldo" (1982)
#"Where the Green Ants Dream" (1984)
#"Cobra Verde" (1987)
#"Echoes From a Somber Empire" (1990)
#"Scream of Stone" (1991)
#"Lessons of Darkness" (1992)
#"Bells from the Deep" (1993)
#"Little Dieter Needs to Fly" (1997)
#"My Best Fiend" (1999)
#"Wings of Hope" (2000)
#"Pilgrimage" (2001)
#"Invincible" (2001)
#"Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet" - ("Ten Thousand Years Older") (2002)
#"Wheel of Time" (2003)
#"The White Diamond" (2004)
#"The Wild Blue Yonder" (2005)
#"Grizzly Man" (2005)
#"Rescue Dawn" (2007)
#"Encounters at the End of the World" (2007)
#"" (2009)
#"The Piano Tuner" (2010)


#"The Flying Doctors of East Africa" (1969)
#"Handicapped Future" (1971)
#"Glaube und Währung" (1980)
#"God's Angry Man" (1980)
#"Huie's Sermon" (1980)
# "The Dark Glow of the Mountains" (1984)
#"Ballad of the Little Soldier" (1984)
#"Les Français vus par..." - ("Les Gaulois") (1988)
#"Wodaabe - Herdsmen of the Sun" (1989)
#"Film Lesson 1-4" (1990)
#"Jag Mandir" (1991)
#"The Transformation of the World Into Music" (1994)
#"" (1995)
#"The Lord and the Laden" (a.k.a. God of the Burdened) [part 9 of the series "2000 Years of Christianity"] (1999)
#"Wings of Hope" (2000)


#"Giovanna d'Arco" (1989)
#"Lohengrin (opera)" (1991)
#"La Donna del lago" (1992)
#"Tannhäuser (Wagner)" (2000)

Further reading

*Paul Cronin. "Herzog on Herzog" (London: Faber and Faber Ltd., 2002, ISBN 0571207081)
*Werner Herzog. "Eroberung des Nutzslosen" (Munich: Carl Hanser Verlag, 2004, ISBN 3-446-20457-1)
*("Conquest of the Useless," Herzog's diaries of the making of "Fitzcarraldo" -- published in Italian as "La Conquista dell'Inutile," English translation in preparation)
*Descheneaux, A. Présence Wagnérienne dans le film Invincible (2001) de Werner Herzog in "Canadian University Music Review" 24:30–61 n1 2003
*Herzog, Werner. " [http://www.free-association.org Of Walking in Ice] ." [http://www.free-association.org Free Association] . 2007.


External links

* [http://www.wernerherzog.com Official site]
* [http://www.thestickingplace.com/books/werner-herzog/production-company.php Extracts from "Herzog on Herzog"]
* [http://www.ifc.com/film/film-news/2008/06/werner-herzog-on-encounters-at.php Interview with Herzog on "Encounters at the End of the World" at IFC.com]
* [http://thewernerhrzogarchive.blogspot.com/ The Werner Herzog Archive]
* [http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/directors/06/herzog.html "Senses Of Cinema" on Werner Herzog]
* [http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/04/24/060424fa_fact_zalewski?currentPage=1 "The Ecstatic Truth"] New Yorker article profiles Herzog on the set of "Rescue Dawn"
* [http://www.artseditor.com/html/features/1007_herzog.shtml "A Significant Bullet: examining Werner Herzog's latest film"] ArtsEditor.com review of "Rescue Dawn"


* [http://www.nypl.org/research/chss/pep/pepdesc.cfm?id=2669 Werner Herzog interviewed at NYPL (2007)]
* [http://www.avclub.com/content/interview/werner_herzog The Onion interview (2007)]
* [http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050828/PEOPLE/50828001 Roger Ebert interviews Werner Herzog (2005)]
* [http://www.indexmagazine.com/interviews/werner_herzog.shtml Doug Aitken Werner Herzog interview (2004)]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/documentaries/storyville/werner-herzog.shtml BBC interview (2003)]
* [http://www.indiewire.com/people/int_Herzog_Werner_991109.html indieWIRE interview]
* [http://www.screenwize.com/archives/158 An Interview with Werner Herzog] 2008 Interview with Werner Herzog at Screenwize.com

NAME=Herzog, Werner
SHORT DESCRIPTION=German film director, screenwriter, actor, and opera director.
DATE OF BIRTH=September 5, 1942

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