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Werner Herzog's furious reality

By David Luhrssen
Shepherd Express

ames_ferocious coverMany film buffs consider Werner Herzog as a ‘70s art house director who moved into documentaries during the past 15 years, but as Eric Ames reminds us, Herzog made documentaries from the start. Ames’ book, Ferocious Reality: Documentary According to Werner Herzog, analyzes the aesthetic of the German director, who has often denounced the assumptions behind documentary filmmaking in colorful terms. For Herzog, pointing a camera at reality and observing it is naïve and superficial. “There are deeper strata of truth in cinema,” he insists, “and there is such a thing as poetic, ecstatic truth. It is mysterious and elusive, and can be reached only through fabrication and imagination and stylization.”

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Ferocious Reality