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Werner Herzog beantwortete vor ein paar Stunden User-Fragen auf Reddit als Promo-Aktion für seine Online Master Class. Das ganze Teil ist natürlich überaus lesenswert, „it's like Death, staring at you“, und so. Hier ein paar der interessantesten Stellen, in denen er unter anderem verrät, dass er auf Katzenvideos im Internet steht. Who knew?
We all know your least favorite animals are chickens. But what is your favorite animal (and why)?
A falcon, for example, from the place where I live. There's a tall tree in the distance, and there's a wonderful falcon out there. And I love hummingbirds, when it comes to birds for example. What other animals do I like...I like cats, because they're so strange sometimes. And you see them on the internet, the crazy cat videos for example, and I'm a fan of them. What else, what other animals? Well that's basically it.
I like animals, but when it comes to chickens, they are so stupid. And it's easy to hypnotize them. Put their beak on the ground, hold them and draw a quick, straight line away from their beak onto the ground, onto the pavement, and they'll stay there frozen and hypnotized!
„I will teach crazy things“.
What did you learn in creating the curriculum for your MasterClass?
I did not learn anything! I'm self taught. […] Otherwise I will teach crazy things, the real life stuff, in my rogue film school that I founded, a different type of teaching. It's one on one, it's people whom I physically have in front of me and it goes much wider into guerilla filmmaking. In other words, I will teach you how to pick a safety lock, I will teach you how to forge a shooting a document, allowing you to film and things like that.
„I couldn't care less about the rules of anything“.
Who is the one person who taught you the most about filmmaking?
It's an odd question for me because, in a way since I'm so self-taught, and since I came into contact with cinema fairly late in my youth, I always had the feeling I was sort of the inventor of cinema itself. It sounds kind of crazy or not right, as if I was not right in my mind, but until today, I couldn't care less about the rules of anything since I developed it all on my own.
So it's not really a single person who taught me about cinema. However, of course there are filmmakers, great filmmakers, who didn't really influence me but encouraged me. Somebody like Luis Buñuel, or somebody like Kurosawa, or somebody like Dreyer, a Danish filmmaker who made the incredible silent film, La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc, or for example Elia Kazan, films like Viva Zapata!, which is a phenomenal film, and some other stuff.
I cannot say that there was really anybody who taught me most; nobody taught me anything.
„[I'd like to teach] Mathematics, but very very abstract works“.
Your course looks awesome, but if you had to teach a class in something other than filmmaking, what would it be?
Mathematics, but very very abstract works, like nothing but theory. I'd like to be into astronomy, I'd like to be in archaeology, I'd like to be into volcanos. In fact, I'm right now finishing a big film on volcanos. It's called Into the Inferno. It's such a fascinating field of research. Of course, something that has nothing to do with teaching, I would love to play music. I would love to learn how to play cello but you see I'm too old for that, you start learning it before you are 10. This has alluded me, it's a big gap in my life, a void. Let’s say I did learn the cello with the ease of how we are breathing. Today I would probably have been a teacher of music.
„it's good that we are using Facebook, but use it wisely.“
You’ve covered everything from the prehistoric Chauvet Cave to the impending overthrow of not-so-far-off futuristic artificial intelligence. What about humankind's history/capability terrifies you the most?
It's a difficult question, because it encompasses almost all of human history so far. What is interesting about this paleolithic cave is that we see with our own eyes the origins, the beginning of the modern human soul. These people were like us, and what their concept of art was, we do not really comprehend fully. We can only guess.
And of course now today, we are into almost futuristic moments where we create artificial intelligence and we may not even need other human beings anymore as companions. We can have fluffy robots, and we can have assistants who brew the coffee for us and serve us to the bed, and all these things. So we have to be very careful and should understand what basic things, what makes us human, what essentially makes us into what we are. And once we understand that, we can make our educated choices, and we can use our inner filters, our conceptual filters. How far would we use artificial intelligence? How far would we trust, for example into the logic of a self-driving car? Will it crash or not if we don't look after the steering wheel ourselves?
So, we should make a clear choice, what we would like to preserve as human beings, and for that, for these kinds of conceptual answers, I always advise to read books. Read read read read read! And I say that not only to filmmakers, I say that to everyone. People do not read enough, and that's how you create critical thinking, conceptual thinking. You create a way of how to shape your life. Although, it seems to elude us into a pseudo-life, into a synthetic life out there in cyberspace, out there in social media. So it's good that we are using Facebook, but use it wisely.
„I do not follow ideas“.
Focusing on an idea seems to be the hardest thing for me and I'm sure others.. Is there any method or practice you use to help get focused on one idea to pursue for a picture?
That's hard to answer, because I do not follow ideas; I stumble into stories, or I stumble into people who all of the sudden, the situation makes it clear that this is so big, I have to make a film. Very often, films come with uninvited guests, I keep saying like burglars in the middle of the night. They're in your kitchen, something is stirring, you wake up at 3 AM and all of the sudden they come wildly swinging at you.
So, I try to--it's not focusing on ideas, but I know exactly what the problem this is. Once you have an idea, it wouldn't help to sit down and keep brooding, brooding, brooding...just live on but keep it in the back of your mind all the time. Keep connecting little bits and pieces that belong to it. Sometimes it's only a word, sometimes half a line of dialogue, sometimes an image that you squiggle down. And when it kind of in this way materializes, then press yourself with urgency.
When I write a screenplay, I write it when I have a whole film in front of my eyes, and it's very easy for me, and I can write very, very fast. It's almost like copying. But of course sometimes I push myself; I read myself into a frenzy of poetry, reading Chinese poets of the 8th and 9th century, reading old Icelandic poetry, reading some of the finest German poets like Hölderlin. All of this has absolutely nothing to do with the idea of my film, but I work myself up into this kind of frenzy of high-caliber language and concepts and beauty.
And then sometimes I push myself by playing music; in my place it would be, for example, a piano concerto, and I play it and I type on my laptop furiously. But all of it is not a real answer, how do you focus on single idea; I think you have to depart sometimes, and keep it all the time alive somehow.