Metafilter Highlights a Trove of Werner Herzog Films Online

“To steal a char­ac­ter or a sto­ry isn’t real theft. But to steal a land­scape, that is a very, very seri­ous crime.” There we have one of the propo­si­tions agreed upon by film­mak­ers Wern­er Her­zog and Errol Mor­ris in a con­ver­sa­tion they had for the Believ­er. Though their fil­mo­gra­phies may not look ter­ri­bly sim­i­lar — Mor­ris with his inter­view-based doc­u­men­taries on pet ceme­ter­ies, emer­gent sys­tems, and old Sec­re­taries of Defense, Her­zog with his bare­ly defin­able, dis­tinc­tion-between-fact-and-fic­tion-repu­di­at­ing stud­ies of aggres­sive dwarfs, doomed nat­u­ral­ists, death row inmates, and con­quis­ta­dors and rub­ber barons aggran­diz­ing them­selves in the jun­gle — their work has much in com­mon under the sur­face. Don’t believe me? First watch through the list we pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured of 30 Errol Mor­ris movies stream­able online, assem­bled on Metafil­ter by a mem­ber known as “Going to Maine.”  Then watch Going to Maine’s new list of 43 Wern­er Her­zog movies stream­able online, com­pare, and con­trast.

At the top of the post, you can spend nine min­utes watch­ing Her­ak­les, Her­zog’s very first cin­e­mat­ic effort, a mash-up (if it does­n’t stretch the def­i­n­i­tion too far to apply the word to some­thing made in 1962) of mus­cle men and rac­ing-car wrecks. Just above, we have 1969’s Pre­cau­tions Against Fanat­ics, anoth­er ear­ly exer­cise in Her­zo­gian form-bend­ing which repur­pos­es footage of real peo­ple, real places, and real ani­mals to absurd ends — in this case, to envi­sion a real­i­ty in which hired men work tire­less­ly to pro­tect hors­es from “horse fanat­ics.” The list also rounds up a few shorts that even true Her­zog fanat­ics may nev­er have had the chance to see, includ­ing 1976’s No One Will Play With Me (part one, part two) below, the sto­ry of a preschool social out­cast based upon expe­ri­ences relat­ed by the real chil­dren them­selves — the sort of thing we’d all have grown up watch­ing on tele­vi­sion, in oth­er words, if Wern­er Her­zog had made after-school spe­cials. If works like these don’t give you quite enough insight into the mind of this inim­itable, uncom­pro­mis­ing, and seem­ing­ly tire­less, Bavar­i­an film­mak­er, don’t for­get to check out his own favorite films as well.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Por­trait Wern­er Her­zog: The Director’s Auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal Short Film from 1986

Errol Mor­ris and Wern­er Her­zog in Con­ver­sa­tion

Wern­er Her­zog Picks His 5 Favorite Films

30 Errol Mor­ris Movies That Can Be Streamed Online

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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