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Werner Herzog vs cinéma vérité : director as sting

Alex Gibney:

In a panel I was on with you, you said that a film-maker should not be a “fly on the wall”. Rather, a film-maker should be a wasp, and sting!

Could you expand on that idea? And how best can a film-maker “sting?”

Werner Herzog:

We could go on for 48 hours on this, but very brief… The idea of cinéma vérité is a historical mistake.

We are not going to withdraw ourselves. We are creators. We are film-makers. We are directors, dammit! Otherwise the surveillance camera in the bank would be the greatest of all cameras. But you can wait for 15 years and not a single bank robbery is going to happen.

So it’s not what I want and that’s not what we are made for as film-makers: go out, shape a film, articulate it, stylise it, use music, use your sense of storytelling. Be active, don’t sit back like a fly on the wall. That’s idiotic.

The Guardian – Werner Herzog on beer, yoga and what he would ask God

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