STORY TO MYTH
GOETHE INSTITUT SCHWEDEN presents 13 Selected Films of WERNER HERZOG in cooperation with Föreningen Film i Malmö.
Entrance to all films is FREE and open to the public (minimum age 15). No membership is required.
WELCOME! We are very proud to offer this rare opportunity to see the works of Werner Herzog, a true master filmmaker, on the big screen!
24/7 WEDNESDAY 15:00 (1971, 76min, german with english subtitles)
A near-silent documentary journey through (and over) the Sahara scored to Leonard Cohen songs and narrated by both director Werner Herzog and German film historian Lotte Eisner (reading from the Mayan “Popul Voh” creation myth), one of Herzog’s earliest – and most evocative – cinematic essays on the uneasy relationships between man and Earth, unaffected reality and orchestrated drama. Initially conceived of as a science-fiction project, the film captures the vast African wasteland in all its overwhelming, ominous glory, the big sky portentously hovering over the rolling sand dunes and the husks of modern machinery that litter the ground like relics from an obsolete civilization. When his gaze turns to the desert’s residents, Herzog seems to be consciously testing the limits of non-fiction filmmaking’s policy of non-intrusion, with these scenes exuding a deliberately staged quality that somewhat undermines the air of authentic, otherworldly mystery begat by his seductively roaming cinematography (some of which was reportedly shot by attaching a camera to the roof of a VW van driven by Herzog himself). Still, there’s a beguiling poeticism to Fata Morgana that, even in its slightly redundant latter third, is awe-inspiring, whether it be the majestic shots of shimmering mirages – images that beautifully encapsulate the director’s own bordering-on-surreal documentary aesthetic – or the comments of a man whose admiration for a rare reptile’s ability to survive the harsh desert embodies Herzog’s own career-long fascination with the contentious but vital relationship shared between the natural world and its inhabitants. (Review by Lessons of Darkness)
24/7 WEDNESDAY 16:25 (1967, 13min, greek and german with english subtitles)
The story of a solitary man who refuses to leave a Greek island (at one time a leper colony) is
told by a strange variety of characters who don’t have much to say except to repeat their
tellings over and over again. But the person who has the final word on the matter, the lonely
character himself, may not explain anything about his personal reasons for not abandoning the
24/7 WEDNESDAY 16:40 (1997, 80min, english & german with english subtitles)
The thing about story-telling is that it creates pictures in our heads. I can “see” what happened to Dieter Dengler as clearly as if it has all been dramatized, and his poetry adds to the images. “As I followed the river, there was this beautiful bear following me,” he remembers. “This bear meant death to me. It’s really ironic–the only friend I had at the end was death.” At another point, standing in front of a giant tank of jellyfish, he says, “This is basically what Death looks like to me,” and Herzog’s camera moves in on the dreamy floating shapes as we hear the sad theme from “Tristan and Isolde.” Now here is an interesting aspect. Dieter Dengler is a real man who really underwent all of those experiences (and won the Medal of Honor, the D.F.C and the Navy Cross because of them). His story is true. But not all of his words are his own. Herzog freely reveals in conversation that he suggested certain images to Dengler. The image of the jellyfish, for example–“that was my idea,” Herzog told me. Likewise the opening and shutting of the doors, although not the image of the bear. Herzog sees his mission as a filmmaker not to turn himself into a recording machine, but to be a collaborator. He does not simply stand and watch, but arranges and adjusts and subtly enhances, so that the film takes the materials of Dengler’s adventure and fashions it into a new thing. (Roger Ebert)