Sunday, April 17, 2011

Madeline redux

To encourage his colleague who was working on a documentary about pet cemeteries, director Werner Herzog famously promised Errol Morris that he would eat his own shoe if he completed the film. When Gates of Heaven had its premier, Herzog cooked and publicly ate his shoe, an event captured on video by Les Blank.

Herzog is a masterful storyteller. His films Nosferatu, Bad Lieutenant, Aguirre, Wrath of God, and The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser stay with me years after having seen them; their rich visual language has the potency of a strange yet vivid dream. His documentary Grizzly Man, chronicles the life of bear fan Timothy Treadwell, lending dignity, and poignancy to someone that may have easily been written off as a mere kook.

Listen to a YouTube performance of (an imagined) Herzog reading Madeline; he departs from Bemelmans' classic rhyme, considering what lies beneath the surface of the pretty order of twelve little girls in two straight lines. Hilarious.

No comments: