March 8, 2005
In Conversation with Werner Herzog Added to MASS MoCA Schedule for Friday
(North Adams, Mass.)-- Legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog comes to MASS MoCA in North Adams for an evening of conversation and film on Friday, April 8 at 8:00 PM in the Hunter Center. The evening will include a work-in-progress showing of a portion of his newest creation The Wild Blue Yonder and his documentary Little Dieter Needs to Fly as well as additional films and clips. This event -- sponsored by the Williams College English Department and the Minton Fund -- will be moderated by Williams professor and author Jim Shepherd.
"This is a unique opportunity to interact with the man Francois Truffaut calls 'the most important filmmaker now alive'," said Joseph Thompson, director of MASS MoCA. "We are absolutely honored and delighted that Werner Herzog is visiting the Berkshires and giving the local community a first look at his newest film."
According to Ian Penman, "In Herzog's hands, 'documentary' has become something carnivalesque, slippery, stylized - and only as limited as the world you place before your lens. He has been a true independent all his life: he walks, hitch-hikes, sleeps in frozen cars; he buys a house in Manchester with three Nigerians; chooses Pittsburgh as a place to study because there is industry there, real people. He skirts revolutions and sudden death in Africa. He walks the German border entire. He films oil fields ablaze. He coaxes heartbreaking testimony from the blind, the fallen, the strafed, the torn. He admires, most of all, those who fly, and those who fall: anyone not frightened to step off a precipice into reinvention."
Werner Herzog grew up in a remote mountain village in Bavaria, and never saw any films, television, or telephones as a child. Legend has it that he started traveling on foot at 14 and made his first phone call at 17. During high school, he worked the night shift as a welder in a steel factory to produce his first film, which he made in 1961 at the age of 19. His international breakthrough came in 1973 with Aguirre, The Wrath of God, in which Klaus Kinski played a crazed Conquistador. For The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, Herzog cast in the lead a man who had spent most of his life institutionalized, and two years later he hypnotized his entire cast to make Heart of Glass. He rushed to an explosive volcanic Caribbean island to film La Soufrière, paid homage to F. W. Murnau in a terrifying remake of Nosferatu, and in 1982 dragged a boat over a mountain in the Amazon jungle for Fitzcarraldo. Over the course of his career he has produced, written, and directed more than 40 films, published a dozen books, and directed as many operas.
With The Wild Blue Yonder Herzog has embarked on what he regards as his most exciting and challenging film yet. It is the story of astronauts lost in space, the secret Roswell object re-examined and Brad Dourif as alien, whose home planet -the Wild Blue Yonder- has an atmosphere composed of liquid helium and a frozen sky. Using unique, beautiful, and unseen footage, with access to the five astronauts responsible for the Galileo-mission, and with haunting specially composed music, Herzog has created a spectacular vision of imagery, sound, music and human emotion, all part of his science-fantasy.
Little Dieter Needs to Fly is a feature documentary about German-American pilot Dieter Dengler, a man who, as a little boy, fell in love with flight when he made eye contact with the pilot of an Allied plane that was strafing his Bavarian village in World War II. He moved to America and eventually became a Navy pilot, only to be shot down over Laos during the Vietnam War. Captured by Laotian guerillas and handed over to North Vietnamese soldiers, he endured unbelievable suffering and made a brilliant, heroic escape from a POW camp. Dengler is a charming, garrulous raconteur who hardly ever interrupts his fascinating, rapid-fire narration. During those rare moments when he is overcome by emotion and falls silent, it is deeply moving.
On Thursday, April 7 at 8:45 at Images Cinema in Williamstown Herzog will introduce his most recent documentary Grizzly Man with a second screening at 10:30 PM. Grizzly Man tells the story of Timothy Treadwell whose death was as sensational as his life. Having presumed he could live safely among the grizzly bears of the Alaskan wilderness, the outdoorsman and author (Among Grizzlies)--along with his partner, Amie Huguenard--was killed and devoured by one of the very animals to whom he had devoted years of study. In telling this story, Werner Herzog relies considerably on Treadwell's own video footage, shot during his time in the wild. But in the manner well known to those familiar with the stunning nonfiction films Herzog has made throughout his career, the famed German director takes Treadwell's story into unexpected emotional frontiers and startling landscapes of the mind. Admission is pay what you can. For additional information on that screening visit www.imagescinema.org.
Tickets for In Conversation with Werner Herzog are $8. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Williams students, faculty, and staff are admitted free with Williams ID. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams from 11 A.M. until 5 P.M. (closed Tuesdays). Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased on line any time at www.massmoca.org.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Katherine Myers
(413) 664-4481 x8113