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A forgotten manifesto

Posted at 3:56 PM on May 12, 2006 by Euan Kerr

I am finding it hard to get excited about the new theatrical offerings this Poseidon-dominated weekend.

What I have been enjoying is reading through the recent New Yorker article on Werner Herzog. (The piece called "The Ecstatic Truth:How Werner Herzog makes movies" was in the April 24th issue. It's not on the New Yorker site, but a quick search on the net will probably dredge it up.)

Herzog comes across as a man obsessed who seems to attract disaster. He also seems to have a cheerful but unstoppable urge to do dangerous things, like jumping out of a third story window for fun as he did recently. Much of the story is about the troubled shooting of Herzog's new film "Rescue Dawn" with Christian Bale and Steve Zahn in Thailand.

It's good reading, but what caught my eye was the mention of the Minnesota Manifesto.

It's a document Herzog put together during a visit to the Walker in 1999. It makes for good, if confusing reading too. How many cinematic manifestos include references to ex-wrestlers as governors who talk about how "you can't legislate stupidity?"

There are also these lines:

6. Filmmakers of Cinema Verité resemble tourists who take pictures amid ancient ruins of facts.

7. Tourism is sin, and travel on foot virtue.

It makes you think.

I was lucky enough to attend a lunch with Herzog where he passed out the manifesto, but didn't really talk about it much. In fact I had forgotten about the document entirely. The Maven, of course, reminds me she had it up on her wall for a while, but says she can't remember where it is now.

Anyway, maybe I'll spend the weekend reading it through again, and trying to make sense of it.

May 2006
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