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Herzog on Herzog

4.46  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,134 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
An invaluable set of career-length interviews with the German genius hailed by François Truffaut as "the most important film director alive"

Most of what we've heard about Werner Herzog is untrue. The sheer number of false rumors and downright lies disseminated about the man and his films is truly astonishing. Yet Herzog's body of work is one of the most important in postwa
Paperback, 352 pages
Published July 9th 2003 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published July 2003)
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Aug 26, 2008 Melissa rated it really liked it
There are just too many fantastic stories here, from the time Herzog intentionally jumped onto a bed of cacti in order to appease a bunch of dwarves, to the time he was life-flighted out of a country in a cage being hoisted by a helicopter ("I was frozen to the cage, so the film crew had to urinate on my hand!") But maybe my favorite was the exchange about Herzog eating his shoe, which went something like this:

Herzog: There should be more shoe-eating in this country! Do you remember that man who
Aug 08, 2007 Lindsay rated it it was amazing
if you asked me as a child what i wanted to be when i grew up, i would say herzog. you might want to avoid me when i have this in my hands because i'll start reading you my favorite passages, you'll have a beard a mile long by the time i'm finished. even if you're a woman.
Feb 18, 2009 Stephen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: eccentrics, 2009, 5-star
Herzog is, simply, incomparable. Who else thinks or speaks like this man? His rare combination of humility, disarming thoughtfulness and blunt honesty provide an antidote to the typical glibness of those involved in the movie business. Of course, Herzog would probably dislike someone associating him with the movie business; he'd argue that he was in the business of dreams. And he would be right. He is a craftsman of dreams. (He would undoubtedly reject being called an artist of dreams, although ...more
Sep 03, 2014 Valeriya rated it it was amazing
Great book, which contains interviews with one of the most interesting directors of all time. I found that in Herzog's life there was an episode which is very similar to the story that is told in Rachel Joyce's "The Unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry". Fantastic how things like that could actually happen! Recommend this book for Herzog's fans and those who are interested in New German Cinema.
Monica Alicia
Dec 23, 2014 Monica Alicia rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. Inspiring read even if you are not a fan of his work. Really puts into perspective how much can be accomplished if only by the sheer will of an individual. No doubts, no excuses, no circumstances to harsh to finish what seemed impossible.
Mar 01, 2010 Mike rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: dwarfs, visionaries, Herzog buffs
Herzog on Herzog was created from a series of interviews with Werner Herzog. The interviewer, Paul Cronin, then edited the results of these sessions by combining answers relating to the same question or topic and excising the material that did not relate to the director's creative output. The resulting "interview" reads like a long conversation that runs mostly chronological from Herakles to Invincible. It ends with Herzog admonishing the interviewer, "Don't you ever listen to the Song of Life." ...more
Derek Davis
Feb 03, 2014 Derek Davis rated it it was amazing
Good lord, what an amazing man. Werner Herzog has not only made some of the most stunning and wrenching movies of the last 50 years, he's also been everywhere, done everything and been involved in every roiling controversy imaginable.

The book is a set of chronologically arranged interviews covering Herzog's youth, followed by commentary on just about every film he produced through 2001.

At age 14, he walked from native Munich to the Adriatic coast simply because he felt like it. He came to Ameri
C’è una caverna enorme in cui vanno a riposare milioni di rondoni. L’accesso a questa caverna è sbarrato dalle cascate di Kaieteur (Guyana britannica; quattro volte più alte delle cascate del Niagara, per dire), quindi solo i rondoni in volo possono entrarvi facilmente, aggirando in volo l’enorme massa d’acqua. Il medico della troupe di Werner Herzog, esperto scalatore, decide di farsi calare con una telecamera per filmare l’interno della caverna, così da rivelarci cosa si cela dietro il muro d’ ...more
Jan 26, 2010 E.C.R. rated it it was amazing
This book is an extended interview between Cronin and Herzog and covers his early life and his filmography up until Invincible (2001). Simply put, if you a fan of Herzog’s films this is a must read. Like his films, Herzog is funny, insightful and unique. A lot of this ground is now covered in Herzog’s DVD commentaries, and if you have listened to any of these you’ll be quite familiar with his “ecstatic truth”, his “fever dreams” and his handling of Klaus Kinski. The real treat is the discussion ...more
Mar 03, 2012 Lauren added it
Shelves: favorites
An elegant and poetic series of interviews with our greatest living director. He absolves himself of the many mistruths brought against him over time (not that I fell prey to them anyway). My favorite part is when he's asked to describe what a Werner Herzog film school would be like. Herzog's response (I'm paraphrasing) is that any students of his imaginary "film school" would have to first walk 5,000km just to get there. Then, spend weeks mastering other physical skills. He admits that he doesn ...more
Brian Hacker
Jan 30, 2008 Brian Hacker rated it really liked it
Werner Herzog is an artistic genius, indefatigable film-maker, champion of the underdog and all-around badass. This book is a great companion to his work, as well as an entertaining read due to it's anecdotal, conversational style. I honestly believe he's among the most important
artists of his time and a big inspiration to me.
Everyone should look up the story of his being shot
during an interview with the BBC outside his house,
then finishing the interview before going to the's ridic
Aug 26, 2008 Alison rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who like movies
this book is completely brilliant. herzog is a true poet. all of his ideas about athleticism and space in filmmaking feel really fresh to me. i can't imagine anyone not enjoying his stories of walking from munich to paris to save lotte eisner's life, or of being buried in a snow cave for two days without food, or of eating a piece of chocolate to stop one of klaus kinski's tantrums... even if you don't know or like his films. herzog can come off as hyperbolic and grandiose, but i never found mys ...more
Jun 17, 2008 Chuck rated it it was amazing
When Werner Herzog was 6, he became very ill, and his mother had to drag him on a sled across snow-packed Bavaria to get him medical treatment. He laid in a hospital bed for eight days -- yet he never complained or grew bored. This is because he pulled a piece of string from his hospital blanket and played with it for the entire time. "I guess I saw a world of imagination in that piece of string," says Herzog.

There is a lot of stuff like that in this book. Recommended, especially for string fana
Dec 03, 2013 Ben rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: filmmakers
Herzog is a big inspiration to me. A must read for everybody, regardless of your interest in Werner Herzog or even film for that matter. The entire book is comprised of transcribed conversations between Herzog and Paul Cronin. While this format could become boring with most other people, Herzog is so poetic in his speech that it was consistently captivating from beginning to end.
Sep 05, 2012 Eric rated it it was amazing
Brilliant to finally get the man's own perspective. Some of the legendary tales are put to rest and even more amazing adventures are discovered. He is ultimately lucid and one of the true greats of film, which he says is for illiterates. No challenge seems too epic for Herzog. He enlarges the scope of what is possible in the life of one person.
Vincent Saint-Simon
Nov 24, 2009 Vincent Saint-Simon rated it it was amazing
To a Reader Whom this May Concern:

I was once told that this book reads like scripture. "Like" is too weak a word.


Kyle Dilla
Jan 29, 2015 Kyle Dilla rated it it was amazing
I don't believe a word of it and I don't care.
Daniel Gormly
Feb 03, 2016 Daniel Gormly rated it it was amazing
I was introduced to Herzog's work at about 16 with Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans; a clumsy title that perhaps suggested incompetence. It certainly didn't suggest I was about to view anything other than a film firmly grounded in the relative tonal ubiquitousness that pervades Hollywood.

Herzog on Herzog, written 8 or so years before Port of Call, follows a long-form interview through the chronology of his films, aspects of his life as they relate to film and his many collaborators to 2
A pair with Clint Eastwood

How do I hate thee, bio-pic, let me count the ways.


Aside from the fact that it is a way of making up for not having a story – I wish somebody would come up with the idea of paying a tiny fraction of a percent of the budget of movies to writers. WRITERS. Come on, let’s hear it for writers…

Aside from that….

The historian in me continually wants to vomit every time I am dragged to one.

Eastwood’s falsification of history in Hoove
Feb 20, 2010 Sebastian rated it it was amazing
An absolute must read for anyone remotely interested in Herzog and his films. Yes, this is the guy who ate his own shoe on a promise to a fellow filmmaker, the guy who threw himself into a bed of cacti making good on a promise to his little person actors in Even Dwarfs Started Small, yes this is the man who threatened to shoot Klaus Kinski when he told Herzog that he was leaving the filming of Aguirre: The Wrath of God, and the man who, in making the film Fitzcarraldo, pulled a 320 ton steamship ...more
Dec 27, 2007 Spiros rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those in quest of ecstatic truth, new images, and the grandiose
Who could imagine that a book of interviews could be so exhilarating? And while I am sure that there was some editing, having spent the best three movie-going hours of my life at his appearance a couple of years ago at the San Francisco International Film Festival, I have no difficulty in crediting that a simple question could generate a pages long, perfectly coherent, well reasoned and frankly hilarious response; simply put, this is the way the man's mind works. Cynics, of the type Herzog woul ...more
Nuzhat Saadia
Apr 19, 2012 Nuzhat Saadia rated it it was amazing
Werner Herzog is a delightful fiend. His insights on filmmaking, philosophy, the human condition, society, the politics of cinema and ultimately the futility of film as an art form to be burdened with the promise of change are all a treat to read. This book, done in a simple Q & A format, brings Herzog's life into focus, juxtaposing it with his passion for film, cinema, his nonchalance for belonging to any odd cinematic movement and consistently avoiding being labeled one way or the other. H ...more
Chris Theo
Jun 06, 2014 Chris Theo rated it it was amazing
The more of his films you've seen the more you'll get out of this book. But don't let this put you off. You may not agree with his views all the time but he truly is a unique filmmaker worthy of the praise and adulation he receives. At the same time you can understand why so many just don't get him. He is often overly poetic and when reading this book you often wonder if his stories don't borrow from his filmmaking ideology. Often the stories are so unbelievable that you feel that he must be cre ...more
Jared Zehm
Apr 05, 2013 Jared Zehm rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books ever ~ anyone who knows about Herzog knows that he and his films are more than what they appear ~ he rarely gives interviews so this book, a series of interviews edited together, delves into a plethora of interesting stories about the man himself and his films. Herzog always seems to speak in platitudes about his methods and motivations. This shows through in the book because he is very much a man of action and life. His films come about because of his experiences and hi ...more
Chris S
Dec 17, 2009 Chris S rated it it was amazing
Shelves: inspirational, film
I discovered Herzog only recently after watching 'Encounters at the End of the World' at my local cinema earlier in the year. It was the most amazing and uplifting film I'd seen in a very long time. It had a profound affect on me. Straight after I gorged myself on his films, and after listening to the DVD commentries, and if you want to know more - then Herzog on Herzog is a pretty essential companion to the films if you are a fan, or if you are starting out as a filmmaker. His advice may be use ...more
May 24, 2014 Andrew rated it it was amazing
A fascinating 300-page career-spanning interview with one of the world's most distinctive and brilliant film directors.
Ryan Davis
May 14, 2009 Ryan Davis rated it it was amazing
Awesome! This book is a great source of inspiration to me when it comes to my creative endeavors, providing energy to simply stubbornly move forward with projects and to have courage to articulate beautiful images and visions. It's also hilarious: Herzog has this ridiculous straight forward way of talking about things, and he's completely serious even if the subject or account is by normal standards insane or bizarre. His work takes on an epic scale simply because he achieves exactly what he wan ...more
Aileen Tie
Jan 11, 2016 Aileen Tie rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite biographies on a living legend.
Feb 11, 2014 Sam rated it really liked it
Werner Herzog has one of the most unique and refreshing approaches to life than almost any other public figure i can think of. The fact that he is a great success in his chosen fields affirms that originality and quality are still valued, something i occasionally forget when confronted by the typical choice of films in my local cinema.
If you are interested in Herzogs films and methods then i would recommend that you buy this book. It is filled with stories and insights from one of the greatest a
Feb 04, 2015 Axel rated it it was amazing
absolutely inexplicable.
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“There are deeper strata of truth in cinema, and there is such a thing as poetic, ecstatic truth. It is mysterious and elusive, and can be reached only through fabrication and imagination and stylization.” 17 likes
“The opinion of the public is sacred. The director is a cook who merely offers different dishes to them and has no right to insist they react in a particular way. A film is just a projection of light, completed only when it crosses the gaze of the audience[...]” 11 likes
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