I’m sharing some of my favorite reads of 2016. See them all here.
Yes, Werner Herzog: A Guide for the Perplexed is a 600-page book of interviews with Werner Herzog. Yes, 600 pages worth of hardcover text is a hell of a lot of time to spend with anybody.
But you’ve got to admit, Herzog is one hell of an intriguing dude. He’s got a lot of ridiculous stories. Like the time he overstayed his visa in the U.S., broke his leg, and ended up staying with an rural U.S. family that he just happened to meet for months. Or the time he ate his shoe at the premiere of Errol Morris’s first documentary. Or, you know, that time he dragged an enormous ship over a mountain in the middle of the Peruvian jungle to make a movie.
More than just Uncle Werner spinning yarns (some of which I’ve got to guess aren’t exactly true), this is just an amazing film book. It covers all of Herzog’s films, which in itself is a major accomplishment, and you’ve probably missed a few (there are well over 50, including many, many obscure ones), so it is a wonderful way to catch up. And Herzog does prove himself something of a film theorist (despite his protestations that he’s just a regular guy who despises all those eggheads), and he’s got some fascinating ideas about the point of film.
Most of all, this is just a fun read. If you’ve got the time, you can easily knock out a hundred pages of this book in a day. It’s fun!