May 23, 2017No Comments

I first saw Elie Wiesel in Claude Lanzman’s “Shoah”. Hearing and seeing a deeply religious and articulate man question God’s actions was troubling. His book of Memoirs is a feat, filled with nostalgia and poetry. Karma had it that I finished reading the book on the day we reopened our town’s old Jewish Temple for visits, during the Night of the Museums, a couple of days ago. Wiesel passed away last year. I thought of him at the Temple.

November 30, 2016No Comments

Werner Herzog, a guide for the perplexed – Paul Cronin, 2014

You’d feel tempted to call Werner Herzog the last of the Greats. It’s just that film history literally didn’t record another character as profoundly particular. Please, I urge you. See his films now, start with a more recent documentary (Grizzly Man, Encounters at the End of the Earth, Cave of Forgotten Dream) and alternate with mandatory fictions (Aguirre, the Wrath of God / Fitzcarraldo / Stroszek). The man speaks truth, the kind you’d find under a big rock that stood in place for ages. For anyone who hasn’t yet fell under the spell, here’s the real Gandalf.  

As for this piece, you get a 600 page book of conversations between him and Paul Cronin. It’s an enhanced biography, the world according to Herzog.

You get life advice: 

  • “If you want anything done, always ask the busy man. The others never have time.”
  • “Never wallow in your troubles; despair must be kept private and brief. Learn to live with your mistakes.”
  • “Ask for forgiveness, not permission”.

You get film advice:

  • “Cinema comes from the country fair and circus, not from art and academicism”
  • “Every time you make a film you should be prepared to descend into Hell and wrestle it from the claws of the Devil himself”

You get it:

“A man should prepare a decent meal at least once a week. I’m convinced it’s the only real alternative to cinema.”

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