Film International: The Mind as Camera

By John Duncan Talbird
Film International

Of Walking in Ice by Werner HerzogIn November 1974, when Werner Herzog was thirty-two, he walked from Munich to Paris, over five hundred miles in three weeks. Herzog had received word that his friend and mentor, film critic and historian Lotte Eisner, was gravely ill and would probably die. Struck with the kind of unexplainable romantic self-assurance that a Herzog character would have, he set off on foot, determined to walk all the way to her sick bed. He had been struck with the insane idea that if he walked the whole way, then somehow that would save her life. And so he did. He kept a journal and four years later, that journal was published under the title Of Walking in IceUniversity of Minnesota Press has just republished this small book (translated by Martje Herzog and Alan Greenberg) and it is highly recommended for anyone who loves Herzog, both the filmmaker and personality. It is not recommended for anyone who loves traditional memoir. Likewise, although it details an amazing “stunt,” it is not recommended for anyone who loves those blog memoirs so ubiquitous in the internet age: “I made every recipe in a famous French cookbook and here’s the blog in book form!” or “I sold all my stuff and moved into a yurt!” Or that no-impact-man guy’s writing.

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