No Title is Good Enough for a Post about the Awesome ‘American Movie’

Many filmmakers can probably relate to one of the opening scenes in American Movie (Chris Smith, 1999) as Mark Borchart sorts through bills and collection notices. As the amounts add up, he comes across a new credit card and momentarily gets excited about it. American Movie follows Borchart’s passion project in the making of the… Read More No Title is Good Enough for a Post about the Awesome ‘American Movie’

‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams’ Seeks a Deeper Meaning

Like almost all of Werner Herzog’s documentaries, Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2011) operates on two levels: in this case the important discovery of the cave and the attempts at finding greater meanings therein. The important discovery is the Chauvet caves found in France in 1994. These caves featured paintings on the wall that were dated… Read More ‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams’ Seeks a Deeper Meaning

Werner Herzog Produces Anti-Texting and Driving PSA

Unless you watched the opening credits, you would not recognize From One Second to the Next (2013) as a Werner Herzog film. This short is a public service announcement sponsored by the four major cell phone companies in the United States about the outcomes of texting and driving. This short features a series of interviews… Read More Werner Herzog Produces Anti-Texting and Driving PSA

Herzog Delves ‘Into the Abyss’ of Capital Punishment

Into the Abyss (2011) is a look into the capital punishment system in Texas through the case of two teenagers who murdered three people for a car. Of the two teens, one entered a plea and received a lighter sentence, while the other received the death penalty. Into the Abyss is not a race-to-prevent-execution documentary,… Read More Herzog Delves ‘Into the Abyss’ of Capital Punishment

‘Ballad of the Little Soldier’ Tells Stories of the Child Soldiers

Ballad of the Little Soldier (1984) is a German-language documentary short about the situation facing the Miskito Indians in Nicaragua against the Sandinistas. Co-directed by Werner Herzog and journalist Denis Reichle, the documentary focuses primarily on the Miskito people’s stories. This short balances two parts, though neither is wholly separated from the other. Through interviews… Read More ‘Ballad of the Little Soldier’ Tells Stories of the Child Soldiers

Making-of Documentary Shows the ‘Burden of Dreams’

Making-of documentaries have long since been co-opted as public relations vehicles and as DVD extras, but some truly amazing documentaries show what really went on behind the scenes in some epic productions. Les Blank’s Burden of Dreams (1982) is one of these documentaries. Burden of Dreams follows the making of Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo, a fiction… Read More Making-of Documentary Shows the ‘Burden of Dreams’

‘Lessons of Darkness’ is Aching and Horrifying

Lessons of Darkness (1995) is an hour-long documentary about the devastation in Kuwait’s oil fields. While this documentary could have been straightforward recounting in another maker’s hands, it becomes achingly and horrifyingly meaningful in the hands of Werner Herzog. Lessons of Darkness consists of 13 parts, and only the first part shows the city before… Read More ‘Lessons of Darkness’ is Aching and Horrifying

‘Lipstick and Dynamite’ Explores Women’s Wrestling History

Lipstick and Dynamite (2004) is Ruth Leitman’s look back at the lady wrestlers of the 1940s to the 1960s. Using interviews with the wrestlers themselves, this energetic documentary explores the culture around the sport and how it influenced these women. Some of the cultural expectations follow the gender norms in the 1950s. While these women… Read More ‘Lipstick and Dynamite’ Explores Women’s Wrestling History