Saturday, August 27, 2016

Lo and Behold

by Drew Martin
Werner Herzog's greatest talent is easing the subjects of his interviews into a quiet, trusted, confessional space and letting them talk. What they say is often remarkable. 

Herzog keeps the camera rolling so the person is framed in a wide, temporal space. It is a style that further isolates the individual and typically reveals deeper emotions that trail the answers to his quixotic questions. It does not feel manipulative when you see the final cut but I can hear Herzog saying to himself in his long-strided German (accent) "This is a gold-mine." 

It is a set up but not for a comic moment or to tease out a desired soundbyte. It is to create a script of serendipitous remarks stitched together with his calming voice, which has the cadence of a large-load dryer at the laundromat.

What I like most about Herzog's films, which I have written about several times before, is not only his quest for the profound but his ability to capture whatever topic he is focused on with the same level of appreciation. The beginning of Lo and Behold, about the Internet, is not just a visit to UCLA to see the seminal networking device that begot the Internet, but to create a sense of awe about it, which is carried throughout the film.