Thursday, December 8, 2011

An afternoon with Werner Herzog

Spending an afternoon (11/19/2011 at USF - University of South Florida) with Herzog was really wonderful. After showing his most recently released film “Into the Abyss” about death penalty in the U.S. -- there was some laughter in the audience; can you believe that? -- we had a Q&A session. He told us that making either documentaries or fiction films meant the same to him. The kids in the audience insisted on the same question about what his reason to make docs instead of fiction was. He only said that they should take a glimpse at his filmography and the answer would be there.  This is not true, since he easily moves from both genres back and forth with a certain frequency. There was a silly girl who wanted to get a job. He said, “In my next movie I will have British and Bedouin actors. I do not believe you would fit in either category. And something else, in L.A., there are 250,000 unemployed actors and the best way is to join people who are making movies in small scale, independently.”

The best he said was ,“You all have to READ, READ, READ, READ, READ, READ” for about 10 seconds and he added that he did not see movies. Two a year and if you are to see movies, watch the bad ones.

He kept joking the audience by saying, “But this happened in the 70’s and you were not even born at that time.”
Well, he was sitting two rows down from my seat during the showing of his film.
At the end of the session, I went up to the stage and I was not going to ask him for anything. I just wanted to exchange a few words with him. You won’t believe this: a cretin came up and asked him, “So how’s working with Tom Cruise?” [P.S. Herzog is working on Cruise’s next movie as an actor.] I approached him and said, “But I was around in the 70’s. I saw your films in São Paulo, Brazil. And today, it is a pleasure watching one of your films with you in this very room. He answered me that he was just pulling those kids’ legs and he signed his name on my notebook. This is something I never ask famous people whenever I encounter them in my life… but this particular autograph I shall, of course, treasure for a long time.
                                                                       Werner Herzog

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