From the Vaults: Herzog's Ecstasy of Truth

Werner Herzog on documentary filmmaking

Werner Herzog on the set of 'Cave of Forgotten Dreams'
Werner Herzog on the set of 'Cave of Forgotten Dreams'

"I'm after some deeper truth, said filmmaker Werner Herzog to Austin Chronicle interviewer Marrit Ingman regarding his documentary Grizzly Man. "To find some sort of ecstasy of truth, I stylize, I fabricate, I stage, I invent dialogue all over the place," he continues. "So when you speak about documentaries, do it with a necessary caution."

Ingman spoke with Herzog in 2005 in conjunction with the Austin opening of Grizzly Man, the director's provocative portrait of Timothy Treadwell, the naturalist who lived among grizzly bears and died after being mauled alive. In "Discord and Ecstasy," Herzog discusses some of his ideas about documentary filmmaking, an activity in which he's engaged almost as much as his fiction filmmaking.

Herzog has been interviewed several times over the years members of the Chronicle staff, and today's opening of his latest documentary, Happy People: A Year in the Taiga, caused us to look back at some of these interviews. In "Bring It" prior to his 2002 attendance at Cinematexas, Herzog described himself to Marc Savlov as a "soldier of cinema." Savlov again interviewed the filmmaker in "The Big Seedy," on the occasion of the release of Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. In "Amongst Fiends" (2000), I discussed with Herzog his movie My Best Fiend, a documentary about his infamous relationship with the actor Klaus Kinski.

Archival links to some of the other Werner Herzog documentaries reviewed by the Chronicle include Into the Abyss, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Encounters at the End of the World, Echoes From a Somber Empire, and "Herdsmen of the Sun."

More Werner Herzog
What Would Werner Do?
What Would Werner Do?
New to home viewing: A feast of Herzog, ‘Zero Charisma’

Kimberley Jones, April 8, 2014

DVD Watch: 'Dinotasia'
DVD Watch: 'Dinotasia'
'Aguirre, the Wrath of God' meets 'Jurassic Park'

Richard Whittaker, Nov. 6, 2012

More Documentaries
Demagoguery Disguised as Documentary
Demagoguery Disguised as Documentary
What is the difference between Dinesh D'Souza and Michael Moore?

Louis Black, July 8, 2014

Trailer Park: SXSW Film Day 7
Trailer Park: SXSW Film Day 7
An homage to the most recognizable actor, plus pop culture fever

Richard Whittaker, March 13, 2014

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
Peter O'Toole Archives Land at HRC
Hello, Mr. Chips
Peter O'Toole archives acquired by UT's Harry Ransom Center

April 22, 2017

God Knows Where I Am

April 21, 2017


Werner Herzog, documentaries, Happy People: A Year in the Taiga, Grizzly Man, Cve of Forgotten Dreams, My Best Fiend, Echoes From a Somber Empire, Into the Abysas, Encounters at the End of the World

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)