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Werner Herzog vs. Film Scholars


CaveGirl
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Apropos of the film, "Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy"...Herr Herzog was often quoted as saying something like "film is not the art of scholars but that of illiterates".

 

Being that many great and insightful films were written, directed or created by people like Keaton and Chaplin or even Polanski who had little formal education and did not need film school to know how to make an incredible work of art, this seems like a feasible presumption from Herzog.
 

And if so, why then would there be a need for a film scholar or film critic, to explain said processes for others in the general populace or elevated strata even, Herzog seemed to believe.

Now I'm not saying education is a deterrent to creation of worth, but it may not be a necessity either. I do recall Truman Capote once stating though that he felt intellectuality was a stumbling block to the artistic process for actors, so one wonders how he would feel about the Herzog dictum in general.

 

I'm conflicted. There are some film critics I can appreciate but on the obverse side it does seem a bit like the newscasters on tv who will spend hours explaining a president's address right after it is given, as if the viewing audience is too dense to understand anything.

One of my favorite reviews of a film, is the one for Bresson's "AHB" which stated something pithy like that it was the world in an hour and a half, which is brilliant I feel. Of course this was from Jean-Luc Godard who had some interesting takes on his own profession also.

 

What's your take?

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Sounds like a variation of the tried and true "I don't know art, but I know what I like!", which after all, cliched though it may be, I always thought made a lot of sense.

 

I love Werner Herzog, with or without cerebral explanations for why. One of my absolute favourite films of all time is Aguirre, Wrath of God.

 

Words such as "hypnotic" and "dream-like" come to mind. Well, dream or nightmare. 

 

Gol darn it, I just can't explain what I mean. Where's the spirit of Pauline Kael when I need her? Or at the very least, where's that hard hat I was wearing for de-construction purposes?

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In truth I love reading film critics mainly to see if their judgment coincides with my own extremely personal taste, and secondarily for their writing ability. David Thomson is my favorite, since he both writes well and agrees with most of my biases.  The late Pauline Kael was highly entertaining, but I'd no more trust her judgement about a movie than I'd trust Joe the Plumber to choose a president.  Too many raves about films like Last Butter Stick in Paris were enough to make me wonder where the hell she was coming from.

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