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Ecstatic Truth: 'Ferocious Reality' Dissects Herzog's Doc Aesthetic

By Cynthia Close
International Documentary Association

ames_ferocious coverHow does a filmmaker who so denigrates documentary as does Werner Herzog become one of its most innovative and challenging practitioners? That and many other questions regarding this provocative, prolific filmmaker, are answered by Eric Ames in his new book, Ferocious Reality: Documentary According to Werner Herzog.

Given that Ferocious Reality is part of the venerable Visible Evidence Series edited by esteemed scholars Michael Renov, Faye Ginsburg and Jane Gaines, I approached the book with some degree of trepidation, fearing it might be so fraught with jargon and postmodernist theorizing as to be inaccessible to a general interest audience. But not long into the first chapter, I began to relax and enjoy this most excellent exploration of Herzog's engagement with cinema in general and documentaries in particular.

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Ferocious Reality