Shallow Truth and Channeling

4 November 2007

Herzog’s insistence that there is no meaningful difference between his features and his documentaries – ‘In both cases, I am a storyteller,’ he likes to say – offends advocates of cinema verite.. [whilst he], of course, relishes tweaking the traditionalists. ‘There is just a very shallow truth in facts,’ he told me. ‘Otherwise, the phone directory would be the Book of Books.’

A long more-or-less business-as-usual Werner Herzog article (i.e. a portrait of the artist as crazed/inspired lunatic auteur, blundering around with stolen cameras in a travel-brochure of extreme landscapes, making films beset by bad-luck, injuries, illness, gun-threats, acts-of-god and fuelled by tempestuous relations with colleagues, all the while speaking some pretty eccentric English etc etc) in the Observer. The quote above jumped out though, as did a brief note about Herzog’s habit of surreptitiously feeding poetic lines to documentary-subjects during interviews.


Kate Valk, the Wooster Group performer, interviewed a while back by Bomb magazine:

The Richard Burton film—Burton playing Hamlet—is the backdrop of our version. The Burton film is played onstage and is an integral part of our performance, which plays off of it…  we aren’t really acting, we are channeling. There are things I bring to it just because of how I am and who I am, but my task as a performer is to stay open and fluid to channeling what’s on the screens.

A slightly circular review of the WG’s Hamlet in the New York Times. Hoping I can get to see the piece in NY. Sold out, but fingers crossed.