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Monday, September 17, 2012

In Search of Ecstatic Truth

This past week I had the outstanding opportunity to go to Bloomington, Indiana for a lecture series centered around the work of German filmmaker, Werner Herzog (with Herzog in person!).

Monday- I attended a screening of Aguirre, the Wrath of God (a film we watched for Film Club a few months back) about the Spanish conquistadors on their quest to find El Dorado, lead by the madman Aguirre, with a special Q&A following the film.

Wednesday- I attended a screening of Fitzcarraldo, the story of a man obsessed with the Opera (specifically, Caruso) who dreamt of bringing it to the Amazon, and ended up hauling a 320 ton steamship over a mountain to accomplish this dream (a feat Herzog actually performed while filming), also with a Q&A.

Thursday- I attended a lecture given by Herzog entitled "The Transformative Role of Music in Film" where he talked about the marriage of music and the moving image, giving many examples from his own films and some from the films of other filmmakers.

Friday- I attended a midnight showing of his impressive remake of the classic F.W. Murnau 1922 silent masterpiece, Nosferatu the Vampyre.

(all these screenings were brand new digital transfers of the films and they looked absolutely beautiful)

There were some other events I missed due to bad planning on the school's part, but, I did have the staggering privilege to meet Herzog and shake his hand.  All in all the week was a blast.

I already made a post, basically gushing, about how much I love Herzog's films so I'll spare you that, but I will say, this series was a fantastic opportunity to get a glimpse into the mind and personality of Herzog, to get to know the man behind (and sometimes in front of) the camera.  He is a very charismatic speaker full of unbelievable stories that he tells with pride and a touch of humour.  Herzog is a very big inspiration to me personally and this was an unrivaled event that will always remain with me.

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