Werner Herzog helps a plastic bag come to terms with its immortality

The fruits of fast internet access are many.  I’m back in London for the Christmas break, happily gorging myself on lightning broadband and finally uploading some of the photos from Belgium to my Flickr site.

But my main excitement for the day has been discovering two snippets of one of my favourite film directors, Werner Herzog, on Youtube.  This started with a blog I read that showed me a link: ‘Werner Herzog Reads The Night Before Christmas’.  This seemed too good to miss:

It turns out to be a pastiche, though a very accurate one.  I first came across Herzog through his documentary, Grizzly Man, about the American wildlife activist Timothy Treadwell, who tried to protect grizzly bears and ended up being eaten by one.  Herzog’s narration was what caught my attention.  He admires Treadwell but also is razor-sharp in his criticisms, and his ability to draw fascinating larger conclusions about the struggle of men against nature was really striking:

I love Herzog’s complete matter-of-factness, his conviction, and his unique take on the world.  When he says, in the narration to the film, that ‘I believe that the common denominator of the universe is not harmony, but chaos, hostility and murder’, part of me wants to laugh out loud, yet he clearly means it and yet finds enough beauty and meaning in it to go on telling its stories.  In Herzog’s world, even the desire to help another struggling filmmaker becomes an opportunity for a mind-bendingly weird act of solidarity: in 1978, Herzog publicly ate his own shoe in the belief that it would create good publicity for his friend Errol Morris’s film, ‘Gates of Heaven’.  Here is a clip from the short film ‘Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe’.  It does EXACTLY what it says on the tin:

He apparently left the sole, saying that this acceptable: you don’t eat the bones of a chicken.

But the real reason for writing all this is to point my dear friends and readers towards another short film, which somehow embodies all the weirdness, darkness and deepness that is Herzog.  It’s not his own film, but he narrates it in those wonderful Bavarian tones.  It is told from the perspective of a plastic bag which is struggling to come to terms with its own immortality.  Laugh away.  But it is superbly executed, full of a mournful, poetic beauty, and prompts big thoughts about the human condition and the environment:

Do you like it too?  Comments below!

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