Category Archives: Herzog

Herzog on the jungle

Of course we’re challenging nature and it hits back, it just hits back, that’s all, and that’s [the] grandiose [thing] about it, and we just have to accept that it’s much stronger than we are. Kinski always says it’s full of erotic elements. I don’t see it so much [as] erotic, I see it more [as] full of obscenity. It’s just… nature here is vile and base. I wouldn’t see anything erotic here. I would see fornication and asphyxiation and choking and fighting for survival and growing and… just rotting away. Of course, there’s a lot of misery. But it’s the same misery that’s all around us. The trees here are in misery, the birds are in misery. I don’t think they sing, they just screech in pain… It’s an unfinished country. It’s still prehistorical. The only thing that’s lacking [here] is the dinosaurs. It’s like a curse weighing on an entire landscape. And whoever goes too deep into [it] has his share of that curse. So we are cursed with what we are doing here. It’s a land that God, if he exists, has created in anger. It’s the only land where creation is [still] unfinished. Taking a close look at what’s around us, there is some sort of harmony. It’s the harmony of overwhelming and collective murder. And we in comparison to the articulate vileness and baseness and obscenity of all this jungle, we in comparison to that enormous articulation, we only sound and look like badly pronounced and half-finished sentences out of a stupid suburban novel, a cheap novel. And we have to become humble in front of this overwhelming misery and overwhelming fornication, overwhelming growth and overwhelming lack of order. Even the stars up here in the sky look like a mess. There’s no harmony in the universe. We have to get acquainted [with] this idea that there’s no real harmony as we have conceived it. But when I say this, I say this full of admiration for the jungle. It’s not that I hate it, I love it. I love it very much. But I love it against my better judgment.

Werner Herzog

La Soufrière

On that day we found a man who had refused to leave the district. We had to wake him up first.
‘What’s going on here?’
‘You’ve refused to leave the district, haven’t you?’
‘Yes. I’m here because it’s God’s will. I’m waiting for my death. And I wouldn’t know where to go anyway. I haven’t a cent, I’m poor.’
‘You’re waiting for death?’
‘Yes, and no one knows when it’ll come. It is as God has commanded. He will not only take me to his bosom but everyone else. Like life, death is forever, I haven’t the slightest fear.’
‘Are you afraid?’
‘Not one bit.’
‘Why not?’
‘God takes everyone to his bosom, not just one, not just me. He has ordained this for us.’
‘Why don’t you move out?’
‘Where should I go? Death waits forever, it is eternal. I’m not afraid of dying.’

— From Herzog’s La Soufrière

‘Why is everything so hard for me? Why can’t I play the piano like I can breathe?’
‘Listen to me Kaspar. In the two short years you’ve been here with me, you’ve learned so much! The people here want to help you make up for lost time.’
‘The people are like wolves to me!’

— Herzog, The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser