Shepherd Express: Werner Herzog's Poetic 'Scenarios'

By David Luhrssen
Shepherd Express

Scenarios (Werner Herzog)Although he hasn’t entirely abandoned feature filmmaking, Werner Herzog is best known nowadays as a prolific documentarian. But when he first came to attention, in the 1970s, the German director earned his reputation as one of his country’s foremost art house directors, rivaled only by Wim Wenders and Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

The screenplays for a quartet of his ‘70s films have been collected in book form. Scenarios contains more than merely dialogue in cold type. Herzog’s screenplays read like novellas—the characters are fully thought-out and the settings are vividly described, albeit in long, medium and close shots. Perhaps novella is a misleading word. Although Herzog told stories, they were closer to poetry than prose in their allusiveness.

Scenarios, which includes screenplays for Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Every Man for Himself and God Against All, Land of Silence and Darkness and Fitzcarraldo, is published as the first in a projected series of Herzog screenplays by the University of Minnesota Press.

This article appears at Shepherd Express.