Werner Herzog


Director and former festival director Werner Herzog visits the Viennale 2012

In 2012 not only the Viennale celebrates it’s 50th edition, also it’s former director Werner Herzog is getting 70. Just one more reason to welcome him in Vienna.

In 1991 and 1992, the eminent German filmmaker Werner Herzog was the director of the Viennale, alongside Reinhard Pyrker. At that time he had chosen Vienna as the center of his life for personal reasons, before moving to the USA shortly afterward to pursue a career as feature and documentary filmmaker. Under the title Kino als magischer Ort (The Magical Place of Cinema), Herzog lit a beacon of cinema past and present, largely following his own passions and convictions in the programming, as the current director Hans Hurch does too.
The Viennale is extremely pleased to hear that Werner Herzog plans to visit his old festival on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. As things stand at the moment, the director will be our guest of honor at the opening gala and will present the Austrian premiere of his four-part documentary series ON DEATH ROW during the first Viennale weekend.
For this reason (and to increase the thrill of anticipation) we wanna share two very personal and different highlights of Werner Herzog with you.


In 1980 the American filmmaker Les Blanks directed a 21 minutes long short documentary that shows Werner Herzog eating his shoe after it was boiled with garlic and herbs for about 5 hours. The reason for this strange dinner was a promise made by Herzog that he would eat his own show if colleague Errol Morris ever completed his film GATES OF HEAVEN. WERNER HERZOG EATS HIS SHOW is an as absurd as interesting contemporary document, but it also functions as the foundation for an even more exciting documentary filmed by Les Blanks: two years later he accompanied his colleague Herzog into the Amazonas and made BURDEN OF DREAMS about the shooting of Herzog’s FITZCARRALDO.


Werner Herzog at the Colbert Show

While about 30 years earlier Herzog was talking about a “holy war” on TV, he himself appears on TV at the Colbert Show on 6th June 2011 to promote his new 3D film CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS, which was part of the Viennale program 2011. The five minute long interview shows a very smart and funny filmmaker and we ask ourselves why doesn’t appear in front of the camera more often. Also we are counting the days until he finally arrives in Vienna.