Monday, December 19, 2016

Selected Shorts by Werner Herzog

Just as he has been drawn to epic, quixotic projects, in his extended career Werner Herzog has also favored short form storytelling, the results of which have been no less outlandishly idiosyncratic. Here is a random sampling of these films, all of which can be found readily online or as part of DVD extras:

Precautions Against Fanatics, 1969
One of Herzog's first film attempts is a very short (and very unfunny) look at people involved in horse training.

The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner, 1974
Presents the story of a ski jumper who was so veritable that he began to flagrantly and dangerously overshoot the course. Plays like an episode Wide World of Sports, but not without great footage and central Herzogian themes.
Ballad of the Little Soldier, 1984
Intriguing footage of child soldiers from an impoverished Nicuraguan village preparing for combat against the Sandinistas.
*** 1/2

The Dark Glow of the Mountains, 1985
The director and his German speaking subjects are disappointingly dubbed over by an American narrator in this no less compelling documentary of a pair of mountain climbers who discuss their trade and the perils involved.