Leonardo on Ferocious Reality

"For those familiar with the documentary films of Werner Herzog, the title of Eric Ames’ book, Ferocious Reality, may point towards Herzog’s vision of a merciless nature, but at the same time as the author informs us, it comes from an essay by Amos Vogel on the taboo of showing death on film."

ames_ferocious coverThe book addresses Herzog’s ‘anti-romantic vision of nature’ and its cruelty, which ultimately culminates in inescapable death.

This view of Herzog is emphasized in his autobiographical film Portrait Werner Herzog (1986). Describing a painting from the German Romantic period, “Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog” by Caspar David Friedrich, Herzog says, “… man is alone, small, insignificant in the vast landscape. The landscape isn’t just a backdrop, it is like an inner landscape representing the soul’s condition.” Man against landscape also becomes symbolic of the physical scale of their relationship to each other; and behind the vision of nature’s vast glorious landscapes lies the hidden truth of man’s insignificance against them. Through his films, Herzog wants to leave his mark on the landscape and proof of his struggle with it.

Read the full review.

Published in: Leonardo
By: Nameera Ahmed