>Werner Herzog’s Cave: videos and links

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One of the most distinctive filmmakers of our time, Werner Herzog has been called the “romantic visionary” of the New German Cinema movement. His edgy, larger-than-life films fuse the epic with the intimate, redefining the scale and scope of filmmaking to include more than 60 works shot on every continent. He appeared in conversation with acclaimed author and essayist, Pico Iyer at UC Santa Barbara on October 25, 2010. (download the video here)

A 10 minute fragment from a ‘masterclass’ with Werner Herzog. For 7 Planete Doc Review, with Pamela Cohn with Michałem Chacińskim, 2010. Also see this video.

Film Studies For Free hopes its Werner Herzog-obsessive readers will have a few hours to spare. They’ll need them to watch the above embedded (and linked to) videos, some of the more recent, and most worthwhile of freely accessible online encounters with LA’s most interesting resident filmmaker.

These videos, and the critical and scholarly reading below, will help time pass before the Spring 2011 premiere of Herzog’s latest (3D) film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams (trailer, related videosecond related video). Don’t say that FSFF isn’t looking out for you, Herzog-ites!

Scholarly online writing about Herzog:

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>Road movies: On Chris Petit’s film & video essays

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Last updated February 24, 2010
Brilliant profile of film director Chris Petit in conversation with Allan Bairstow. 

“I was interested in seeing if there was a way of producing a film which was constructed more like writing – because when you are writing something you don’t necessarily know where it is going to end up… The Falconer [Petit, 1997] for example never really aspired to be a film, more to a state of mutation or hybrid. It was an essay or graphic novel as much as it was a film, an exercise in vertical layering rather than linear unfolding.”
Truth and invention, real lives and fiction become indistinct and equal elements, merging with other people’s work in the found-footage style, to create a single fabric of random spontaneous expressiveness, not unlike the life that slides by in front of a shop video camera. Each piece of film presents a clue to an inextricable tangle to which everything in the world is connected in its spider web of time, space and chance.
   — Excerpt from Serafino Murri, `Chris Petit, Anatomies of the Image’, in Afterall – A Journal of Art, Context and Enquiry, Issue 5, February 2002

Chris [Petit] was much taken with [critic Manny Farber‘s] writings on American cinema of the 1940s, and with the way in which Farber could notice a detail in a movie, a moment, a glance, and celebrate the beauty and complexity of just that. The narrative was largely unimportant, but the way an actor like Robert Mitchum moved, or the way Bogart looked up just before crossing a street, these were the things that Farber believed were significant.
     So Chris made a film essay about these ideas that is a road trip across Arizona and Nevada and California, and through the psyche of American cinema. It’s a documentary in which the road becomes a movie, just as it did for Wenders and so many others. It’s about film and about memory, as well as about the way we mis-remember movies — and life — all the time. It’s a television programme that’s also about photography (the Polaroid frame is a key device) and about painting. It’s about Rossellini and Godard, and about Europe and the USA. And it’s a sort of a love story too, between the filmmaker and his travelling companion.
     There are so many things to like about negative space: the ways in which it interrogates sequences and the surfaces of the cinema image; its complex, half-heard and half-recalled soundtrack; the sense of nostalgia for cinema, and for a particular studio-based cinema from a specific historical moment; the unexpected beauty of small-town America in both the 1940s and the 1990s; its analysis of physical and psychological and cinematic space; the bold, deliberate provocation of a film made for television that breaks most of the rules; and then at its centre, the rueful, wise and fragile Manny Farber, filmed so informally by the director on a camcoder that sometimes you wonder if he ever looked through the viewfinder.
Film Studies For Free‘s author has been doing a little research on the wonderful work of British filmmaker and video essayist Chris Petit. It seemed only proper, therefore, that she should share the excellent online and freely accessible sources she came across in the process — including the remarkable documentary embedded above – with this blog’s faithful readers.

If you are specifically interested in Manny Farber, subject of Petit’s brilliant 1999 film for television negative space (someone, anyone, please release this film on DVD!), then you should also check out yesterday’s FSFF post.

Petit has recently premiered, in Rotterdam and London, a new documentary called Content, described in its press material thus:

an ambient 21st century road movie that is essay rather than fiction, drift rather than destination. It is a film about life in the rearview mirror, memories of other journeys (Poland to Texas), the You Tube generation and email seduction. It is also about driving into the flatlands of late middle age, about fathers and sons and growing up in the cold war, about genocide and political assassination, and the postwar landscapes of Europe and the USA.

Content will be screened again in early March at London’s ICA.

If you live in or near that city, you can see two of Petit’s feature-length films for free at the BFI Southbank Mediatheque (Radio On [1997] and London Orbital [2002], co-directed by Iain Sinclair).

Online work by Chris Petit:
Online writing about Chris Petit’s films

    Alice in the Cities (Wim Wenders): homage in links

    Film Studies For Free was reminded by a blogpost (‘Defenders of Wenders‘) by Richard Brody at The Front Row (New Yorker Magazine) about just what a great film Alice in den Städten/Alice in the Cities is (Wim Wenders, West Germany, 1974). It’s certainly a wonderful film to teach, both in and out of its New German Cinema or ‘cinema of the everyday‘ contexts.

    Here, in its honour, is a little list of links to scholarly or good critical resources pertaining to it and to its director Wim Wenders‘ other early cinematic works.

    Four by Rosenbaum on Fassbinder

    In case you missed this, Film Studies For Free wanted you to know that, in the last two months, Jonathan Rosenbaum has been episodically publishing at his website a series of four essays that he wrote last year about various Rainer Werner Fassbinder films for Madman, the Australian DVD label. Like everything else at the site, these essays are really worth reading, so below are the direct links, and below them, you can find a short video clip from one of the films, Katzelmacher:

    Werner Herzog Links inc YouTube Fest

    Film Studies For Free wanted to let academic fans of Werner Herzog know that (certainly in the UK, but most probably elsewhere, too, if no geoblocking) they can currently watch eight of his films on YouTube in their glorious entirety. This is thanks to the video distributor Starzmedia, one of the companies participating in YouTube’s growing efforts to stream full-length films with the support of the movie companies who own the rights. Below, FSFF has embedded the trailers of seven of the Herzog films that are currently available. Click on the titles to visit the YouTube pages for the full-length films, which can be watched freely online in relatively good quality versions (Even YouTube Screens Started Small…). (Click HERE for The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser added later. The Starzmedia channel for Herzog is HERE).

    And, if that weren’t enough excitement for one FSFF day, beneath the video-trailers, at the foot of this post, are some other choice links to freely available Herzog material online.

    Aguirre The Wrath Of God

    My Best Fiend

    Even Dwarfs Started Small

    Fitzcarraldo

    Lessons Of Darkness

    Woyzeck

    Little Dieter Needs To Fly

    Scholarly online writing about Herzog:

    >Werner Herzog Links inc YouTube Fest

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    Film Studies For Free wanted to let academic fans of Werner Herzog know that (certainly in the UK, but most probably elsewhere, too, if no geoblocking) they can currently watch eight of his films on YouTube in their glorious entirety. This is thanks to the video distributor Starzmedia, one of the companies participating in YouTube’s growing efforts to stream full-length films with the support of the movie companies who own the rights. Below, FSFF has embedded the trailers of seven of the Herzog films that are currently available. Click on the titles to visit the YouTube pages for the full-length films, which can be watched freely online in relatively good quality versions (Even YouTube Screens Started Small…). (Click HERE for The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser added later. The Starzmedia channel for Herzog is HERE).

    And, if that weren’t enough excitement for one FSFF day, beneath the video-trailers, at the foot of this post, are some other choice links to freely available Herzog material online.

    Aguirre The Wrath Of God

    My Best Fiend

    Even Dwarfs Started Small

    Fitzcarraldo

    Lessons Of Darkness

    Woyzeck

    Little Dieter Needs To Fly

    Scholarly online writing about Herzog: