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Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog

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Also Known As: Werner Stipetic Died:
Born: September 5, 1942 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Germany Profession: Director ... director producer screenwriter actor parking lot attendant dock worker welder
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BIOGRAPHY

A study in both controversy and contradictions, filmmaker Werner Herzog, more than any of his peers, embodied German history, character and cultural richness in his work, while at the same time challenging previous conventions. Yet unlike his contemporaries Fassbinder, Wenders and Schlondorff, Herzog never set a significant film in his own country in his own time. Instead, his restless nature took him far and wide across the world, while his journeys to the edge of inner psychosis provided the impetus for a brand of filmmaking renowned for its physical demands on everyone involved. While growing up in the shadow of Nazi atrocities may have prompted him to probe the darker aspects of human behavior, Herzog developed a paradoxical style of realism that was part of a vision that combined 20th century Expressionism with 19th century Romanticism. Unifying these disparate elements was his elevation of the grotesque and chaotic, first by casting non-professional actors like former mental patient Bruno S. in "Stroszek" (1977), then by his tumultuous, almost violent collaboration with the explosive actor Klaus Kinski. It was with Kinski that Herzog created his finest work - "Aguirre, Wrath of God" (1972), "Nosferatu the Vampyre" (1979) and "Fitzcarraldo" (1982) - while at the same time creating ugly off-camera battles that became the stuff of cinema legend. Whether he was threatening to shoot Kinski with a rifle or briefly contemplating an offer by native South Americans to have the actor killed, Herzog's volatile relationship with Kinski took both a physical and mental toll on both. While Herzog settled into calmer waters directing such acclaimed documentaries as "White Diamond" (2004) and the Oscar-nominated "Grizzly Man" (2005) following Kinski's death in 1991, he never reached such creative and manic heights again.

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