Eric C. Ames
Werner Herzog and Documentary Film
This course explores the rich and extraordinary field of documentary through the films of Werner Herzog from 1970 to the present. What defines “documentary” as distinct from fiction? Who decides--the filmmaker, the spectator, or the critic? Where should we locate Herzog in relationship to documentary practice? Why are ethical issues central to his work, and to documentary filmmaking more generally? We will view and discuss some of Herzog’s best films, including Fata Morgana, Land of Silence and Darkness, The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner, La Soufričre, Wodaabe, Lessons of Darkness, Bells from the Deep, Little Dieter Needs to Fly, and Grizzly Man, as well as documentaries about Herzog (most notably, Les Blank’s Burden of Dreams).
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