peteg's blog - noise - books - 2023 11 05 WernerHerzog EveryManyForHimselfAndGodAgainstAll

Werner Herzog: Every Man for Himself and God Against All: a memoir. (2023)

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Kindle. What a title. If you go in cold (I did for the first half) it's a lot of fun. However things are more tedious the more familiar you are with Herzog's schtick (as I was by the second half). His stories of growing up in post-war Germany, in "the remote Bavarian village of Sachrang" near the Austrian border show him self-constructing the globetrotting auteur who remorselessly hunts down his cinematic visions at all costs to everyone. Of course Klaus Kinski comes in for another serve (more than twenty years after My Best Fiend) and we get another retelling of all the fables attached to the making of Fitzcarraldo etc. He skims over his romantic attachments and domestic situations; he's always out there chasing the next thing. Digital filmmaking has allowed him to increase his output exponentially. He shared a particular attitude towards truth in the world with Bruce Chatwin. I wonder why he never worked with Rutger Hauer.

Prompted by Dwight Garner who claims he didn't believe a word of it. Bonus points for the Douglas Adams reference. A lengthy Q&A assembled by Tim Lewis: unacknowledged German humour is a laughing matter. Goodreads was generally impressed. Much later and at great length, David Trotter at the London Review of Books. Similarly Mark O’Connell at the New York Review of Books.