In 1986, I took my first film class at the University of Georgia (more on that later).
If you know much about me, you know that I have very diverse tastes in film and television. You may know, that my favorite television program of all time is “Gunsmoke” (to my wife’s utter dismay), with quite a few of them close second (Aha! A future blog entry!) Officially, my favorite movie is and has long been “Sergeant York”, starring Gary Cooper. (Another future bog entry may be how I have based my career as an entrepreneur on “Sgt York”) After all these years, I suppose it is safe to confess that “Sergeant York” is really only my favorite AMERICAN film. My favorite film of all time may be the weird and creepy “Aguirre, Wrath of God” starring Klaus Kinski as a 16th century Spanish Conquistador, who goes completely mad, while searching the Amazon for the fountain of youth. I won’t give away the ending, but the final scene, which I think I recall Professor Eidsvick telling us was a completely ad lib single shot, is worth more than a month’s Netflix fee in and of itself.
Now, about that film class. In that class, Film 101, each student was required to go to the student center theater every Sunday afternoon to watch whatever foreign film was being shown that week. One of those Sundays, the film was “Aguirre”. “Aguirre” was directed by the German filmmaker Werner Herzog, who on that particular day became my favorite movie maker. Herzog is an ego-maniacal, tyrannical genius, whose rants and tirades are only overshadowed by those of his most prolific star, Klaus Kinski. Kinski also starred in a number of other Herzog films, like “Fitzcarraldo”, the story of a European gentleman bringing the Opera (and an enormous Riverboat) over the river and through the woods to the native Amazonians. The making of “Fitzcarraldo”, a partly true story, was documented in the compelling “Burden of Dreams” in which Herzog tells of the tribal wars that occurred during filming, the fights among the actors and crew, about how Mick Jagger was originally cast in the Kinski role, about pulling the actual river boat over a mountain, and how after filming was halfway complete, they scrapped the entire project and started over from scratch.
I’ve haven’t seen “Burden of Dreams” in probably 15 years, since my buddy Darryl @dellrott http://dellrott.wordpress.com, bought it on VHS, but it remains the best documentary not produced by Ken Burns that I have ever seen.
So, comes the 21st Century, and Kinski is no longer with us, but Herzog is still viable filmmaker. He has recently narrated a film that explores 30,000 year old French cave art – I’ll have to see that one – anyone want to join me?
The reason for all the setup above is that last week I ran across this hilarious video on another blog, and wanted to share it with my friends. It’s a parody of Herzog’s narrative style. An impressionist reads the Children’s Classic “Curious George” as the Maniacal Genius himself MIGHT have done it. I hope you enjoy this as much as I have: