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(Werner Stipetic)


Born: Munich, Germany, 5 September 1942.

Werner Herzog (JPG, 13 KB)

German director of international reputation and one of the figureheads of the New German Cinema. Herzog made shorts and documentaries (Herakles, 1962; Spiel im Sand, 1964; Die beispiellose Verteidigung der Festung Deutschkreutz, 1966) before directing his award-winning script Lebenszeichen / Signs of Life (1968). An auteur with a strong personal signature even when doing remakes (Nosferatu—Phantom der Nacht / Nosferatu the Vampyre) and literary adaptations (Woyzeck, 1979), Herzog has a single subject, which he varies according to the central character's self-image as over-reacher and prophet or underachiever and holy fool: the impossible self-determination of the male individual, best embodied by Klaus Kinski (five films) and Bruno S (two films). Herzog's trademark is the search for extreme locations, outlandish situations and excessive characters, but often in order to let a strange and touching humanity emerge from impossible odds. Herzog's best-known films are the megalomaniac quests of Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes / Aguirre, Wrath of God (1972), Fitzcarraldo (1982) and Cobra verde (1987), all starring Kinski.

— Thomas Elsaesser, Encyclopedia of European Cinema

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This page was last updated on 23 July 2000.