Werner Herzog, one of the great filmmakers of our time, signing copies of Conquest of the Useless: Reflections from the Making of Fitzcarraldo
* 8/1/09 5:00 PM at Book Soup – Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood, CA.
Werner Herzog (born Werner H. Stipeti?; 5 September 1942) is an Academy Award-nominated 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, Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, Wim Wenders and others. His films often feature heroes with impossible dreams, people with unique talents in obscure fields, or individuals who find themselves in conflict with nature.
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, as shown in Burden of Dreams, a documentary filmed during the making of Fitzcarraldo.
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.