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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Filmmaker Werner Herzog: “I moved to USA because I love my Russian wife”

On Palace square in St. Petersburg classics of world cinema Werner Herzog presented the award of the festival “Message to man” for the contribution to cinema. It was raining. But Herzog endured it all as the audience. Despite the bad weather, they watched his new documentary “On the Internet: dreams of the digital world” under the open sky.

Before you talk with Werner, went to his wife Lena. We met six years ago in Moscow. She is originally from Yekaterinburg. There now there live her parents. “We see each other constantly. Parents come to us in Los Angeles. We should meet more often, but my Werner work all the time, says Lena. Two years I studied at the philological faculty in St. Petersburg. Today, Werner came to the University, walked through the corridors, where I went once. Went to moss. I lived there. And today, collected in the Russian Museum Rublev, and then to the exhibition” Kandinsky. Werner and Lena still go, hand in hand, although together for over 20 years. Lena wonders why in Russia, her husband called Herzog, when he the Duke. Ask how it works. It turns out, takes the camera and shoots, and then join operator, the other members of the crew. Producer he doesn’t have one. And no matter whether there is money for a new project.

Photo: courtesy of the press service of the festival Message to Man

Career Werner Herzog began 50 years ago. He took a few dozen feature and documentary films: “Woyzeck”, “Nosferatu: phantom of the night”, “Bad Lieutenant”, “Aguirre, the wrath of God”, “Man-grizzly”… Herzog where something happens. Woke up the volcano in Guadeloupe, people die in prison — is going there. In his new film about the Internet relatives of the deceased girl say that her portrait “walks” in the Network and is accompanied by nasty comments. Mother thinks the Internet is evil.

“Bank account is now part of your personality”

— Your film on the penetration of Internet in our lives. How you are protected from this influence?

— A person makes a choice, decides how deep you can dive in to the Internet and the opportunities that he gives. In order of importance his appearance is for me comparable to the invention of electricity, so that people learned to make fire. A fundamental change of consciousness and the world, and no one is immune. In the US, home to 300 million people, 6 billion recorded leaks of personal data. Some want to steal your Bank account, which is now part of your personality. Someone interested in the photos you share with family members. Trading networks and commercial companies trying to find out what you prefer to buy. Obviously, if a person uses the Internet, somebody somewhere has already gained access to part of his personality. I don’t have a mobile phone. But if it would, the secret service already knew that I was in this hotel where we met, and even what we chat in this room. But I have no phone. Do not be nervous, it should be understood that the leakage of personal information, no one is immune. The Internet a unique, powerful tool that has its bright side. And they are also covered in my new movie. The most important thing is to understand how to use the opportunities offered to you and the Internet, configure your own filters. But that secondary level of knowledge of the world. Life experience online does not give. If you walk all the way from St. Petersburg to Madrid, this will be equivalent to three years of study at the University.

— No mobile telephone — a method of self-defense?

— Don’t have it for cultural reasons. I still perceive the world not by application to a mobile phone. A simple example: every day my editor came to visit him. And they live on a distance of a mile from each other. To actually go in a straight line, but it is always guided by GPS. If sat phone or lost signal in some place she couldn’t reach, despite the fact that at least a hundred times to overcome the simplest route. And all because of the fact that tracked it through the app in your phone.


— Yes, and many of the things that we use every day, too much dependent on the Internet. Distribution of electricity is controlled. Monitoring is done through the Internet. In the United States and Western Europe, vodorazdela home also controlled through Network. Logistics products in the supermarket, arranged over the Internet. The gasoline pumped at the gas station from the storage to the motor. If electricity is lost, you will not be able to refuel. Moreover, you will not be able to pay for the petrol, because the payment terminal is connected to the Internet. On the international space station, built by the Americans and Russians, there are several modules. If to call from one to the other, and the distance between points 30 metres away, the call goes through the Internet.

My wife experienced a complete lack of Internet due to hurricane “sandy” in new York. There was no electricity and water. It was impossible to drink from the tap, flush the toilet. Two days later, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets, trying to find a place where you can go to the toilet. It was impossible to buy something, go into the houses, where the doors open. They just would not open. All this showed how much we depend on technology. I believe that the time has come to decentralize the Internet. But it is spreading wider, covers more and more areas of our lives. You can sew the chip into the withers of the dog. If she escapes, then track, in a forest she got lost. I prefer to whistle the dog came to my whistle.

— Working on the film, you walked by emotional or acted as a researcher?

— Neither that nor another. I’m not a scientist and not a researcher, just a curious person. When working on a film, no room for emotions. You should do your job.

— Meeting with different people during filming, did you change your view of the world?

Almost all the information that I received, was new to me. But from a conceptual point of view, I always understood what was happening around. Despite the fact that I personally have very little use of the Internet, it is obvious to me that he does.

— You came to Moscow at the international film festival in 2010 as producer of the film “Happy people: a year in the taiga” by Dmitry Vasyukov. What interesting happened in your life since then?

— During this time I took about 15-20 movies. I find it difficult to establish the chronology of events by year. If you initially asked me when I was in Moscow, the answer would be that three or four years ago. But it was six years ago. You asked a question, and I wonder to look back. Usually I look only forward. It has always been. I never looked back.

“In America I was a terrorist because I don’t have a suitcase, one toothbrush”

We are talking about the impact of things on human. And to what extent have you been influenced by the American world?

I’m too loyal to Bavaria, where I was born and lived for many years. I don’t dress in jeans. For me the Bavarian jacket. So I’m not really feeling the American influence.

— But Russian? Because your wife is from Russia.

— Yes, Russian is strongly influenced by the world. My wife is originally from Yekaterinburg. We’ve been married 21 years, met in 1995 during dinner, in America, where Lena lived. 21 years ago I moved to USA, because I love my wife. Gave all that I had in Bavaria, left only the toothbrush. When I came to the US, took me for a terrorist, interrogated for five hours at the airport. Couldn’t understand why I have no suitcase, and only a toothbrush. We live with Lena in Los Angeles. I like it there. Although much had to be abandoned, for example, from the Bavarian dialect. It’s complicated. Nobody talks to me bavarois. I learned a few Russian rituals. When we travel, must sit on the track, a little quiet and then hit the road. This is just one small example. Now my family is half Russian. Not only is Lena. This morning we were visited by her mother. I know all the relatives of Lena.

With wife Lena. Photo: courtesy of the press service of the festival Message to Man

— Heard the saying that the Russian well, the German death?

— I say the exact opposite. The saying should be: what Russian well, it will quicken and German. Or: what is good for Russian, that’s even better for the German.

— Why did you agree to come to St. Petersburg and show a movie under the open sky?

— I was infected by the enthusiasm of the festival organizers. They really wanted me to come.

— Directed first and foremost a film for yourself. But what are your intentions with the audience? What they should experience on the show?

— I do not agree with what the Director makes the film for yourself. Always shoot for the viewer. I’m primarily a storyteller. And share the joy, a surprise to those who watch my films. Sometimes I see objects on the horizon are clearer than they see others.

— Easily find funding for their ideas? Our documentary is difficult to live.

— Around the world in about the same situation. I’m having the same problem. The search for financial resources is always difficult. But I’m not used to complain. Now mobile phone could be a movie, even games. The project budget is less than 10 thousand dollars. For 1 thousand dollars, you can make a documentary. And mount can be quickly on the laptop. Some of his documentaries of the past years today I could remove alone. This requires a camera and a recording device.

— So you are a free man and do what you want?

Yes. Now is not the time for excuses. You can’t say, I don’t give money. Such days are gone. Want to do do. If there is dust inside, will always find a way to realize the idea. The Director it should be, even vague. He must know something that others do not know. Only in this case, you should engage in our profession. It is important to develop own stories.

“I didn’t know about the existence of movie to 11 years”

— In his last trip to Russia, you told us that later joined the movie.

— My mother had to flee from Munich to the mountains when I was two weeks old. We lived in difficult conditions. I didn’t know about the existence of movie to 11. One day our school organized a mobile cinema. I was impressed with what he saw. When we returned to Munich, and I was in high school, started going to the movies, watched the sometimes second-rate paintings, analyzed, engaged in self-education. With 15 years began to make a movie. This worked in a steel mill in the afternoon went to school. I have not read any books on film theory and scripting, but I love poetry. She inspires me and inspires the work.

— What is important to know a budding filmmaker?

— No need to be afraid of anything, including people able to disagree with you. Create something poetic, feel free to dive into imaginary worlds, as did I, working on the film “Cave of forgotten dreams”. It’s a fantasy about white crocodiles, and I take the audience into the space of poetry. The producers believe that if I continue to take about the white crocodile, then I’ll be locked up in a madhouse. Sometimes it’s dangerous to be alone with his imagination. But remember: each of us has at least once able to move the ship through the mountains. Survey is open — heart surgery.

At the meeting with students. Photo: courtesy of the press service of the festival Message to Man

— Many people think that you are looking for danger.

But it is not. Always conscious of its responsibility, do not rush blindly into the unknown. Getting to the filming of “Aguirre, the wrath of God”, know that you have to float on a raft, and myself went with the Indians all the jungle, so the risk for the group was minimal. I directed 70 films. No extras, no stunt man was not injured. When I was shooting a film about the volcano, we were warned that he would erupt. And I decided to go with the camera to his foot. The operator asked: “What would happen if an eruption?”. I honestly answered, “go Up”. And he went with me. Everyone must decide for himself what he should do. But today it is possible to remove alone. It is even safer. If you get thrown in the air, the victims will be minimal.

— Being born scenario?

— Somehow I came to the other, and he was on the phone with his girlfriend, not paying attention to me. I picked up a book, read 14 lines and ran home to write the script. See the film immediately and entirely, so the script comes about five days, and even faster.

— You have doubts? Know what a creative depression?

— I have confidence in myself. Depression to me. Anyone who has doubts, I advise you to go on foot to Barcelona. I was 17 when my project is rejected. I got desperate, went to the pond and told myself I need to take the blows of fate. Midnight stood in the dark frozen water, and then shook off his doubts, he decided to do what I want. We must understand that we leave footprints in the sand, which at any moment can wash away the wave.

— You easily go from one language to another.

— I learned several languages. It gives freedom of communication in the making of the film. Filmmaker must know two or three languages.


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