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Oh dear… Werner Herzog is a ping pong ball, bouncing off the various aspects of his artistic life. At some point during the last 40 years, this was very thrilling to see, how he manages big-style pieces of operatic greatness (Aguirre, Fitzcarraldo, Nosferatu – all the Kinski films, actually), and then again the small odd things, of the “Jeder fuer sich und Gott gegen alle” variety. I am not sure when it was that he added the additional feature of his “poetic documentaries” to the portfolio, might have been around the time of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, when Herzog came to film the burning oil wells and speak odd comments to it. That film had great qualities: sensational colours, beauty of the terror, poetry of music, etc.

Today, I honestly belive Herzog has lost most of what made him a great film author: his texts become self-indulgent and tacky, his pictures are uninspired, or he is just re-processing other people’s materials. After having seen “Grizzly Man” and “Into the Wild Blue Yonder” recently, he starts getting on my nerves (I am bit scared at the prospoect of “White Diamond”, which is still waiting on my DVD shelf). “Blue Yonder” shows: (1) Herzog loves National Geographic and always wanted to be one of these Cousteau-like star nature documentary film makers, (2) his ideas of what is innovative is somehow stuck somewhere shortly after Koyannisqatsi hit the screens some decades ago, (3) he will probably never do a fictional feature film again, because he finds it hard to distinguish an interesting story arc from arbitrary rambling, and he enjoys it too much putting his perception of his own artistic subtlety into the center of his work – all things that are much easier to do in documentaries. Oh and (4) Billy from “One flew over the Coockoo’s nest” is still around, and judging from his IMDB entry, busy on the job, which is good news. Keep up the good work. Billy, I mean.

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