Tag Archives: Werner Herzog

Firing into a continent

By Viv Wilby aguirre_cannon

In the empty immensity of earth, sky, and water, there she was, incomprehensible, firing into a continent. Pop, would go one of the six-inch guns; a small flame would dart and vanish, a little white smoke would disappear, a tiny projectile would give a feeble screech – and nothing happened.

Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad

Aguirre: the Wrath of God is one of those movies that has almost become more famous for what happened on the set than what happens on screen. The tempestuous relationship between the young German director Werner Herzog and his wildman star Klaus Kinski is notorious and the story of how Herzog ended up threatening Kinski with a gun to get him to behave has been well rehearsed; there’s little point in going over it all again here.

Of course the parallels are irresistible: Europeans struggling to adapt to the tropical terrain; a mission hijacked by an insubordinate madman; problems communicating with the locals; logistics from hell. We could just as easily be talking about the making of the movie as the movie itself. Continue reading Firing into a continent

3D Meets the Arthouse: Pina and Cave of Forgotten Dreams

A conversation between Philip Concannon and Niall Anderson

Philip Concannon: Over the coming months the cinema release schedules will be dominated by summer blockbusters, and most of these movies will be in 3D. After false starts in the 1950’s and the 1980’s, it appears that 3D is now here to stay, becoming an increasingly integral element of studio filmmaking, but perhaps the most interesting experiments in three dimensions are taking place outside the multiplex. By a fortunate coincidence, two new 3D features from respected German auteurs are hitting UK cinemas in the space of a month. In Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Werner Herzog utilises this newfangled technology to explore the primitive artwork buried deep within the Chauvet Cave in France, while  Wim Wenders’ Pina uses 3D to pay tribute to the late dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch. While most 3D films thus far have been the result of studio-imposed conditions, these films are passion projects from idiosyncratic directors, and both attempt to express the simple beauty of their chosen subject through three dimensions.

The question is, have they succeeded? Does Herzog’s camera bring the 30,000 year-old paintings to life, and does Wenders’ use of three dimensions capture Pina’s dancers at their best? Finally, what do these films say about the future of 3D as a viable filmmaking tool outside of the mainstream? In the following conversation, Niall Anderson and I will hopefully answer these questions as we examine and compare both Cave of Forgotten Dreams and Pina.

Niall, perhaps you’d like to begin by sharing your views on 3D in general, and as you saw both documentaries this week, who is your victor in this Teutonic 3D duel?

Continue reading 3D Meets the Arthouse: Pina and Cave of Forgotten Dreams