Translating the Impossible into Image. Funambulism and Science Fiction in the Cinema of Werner Herzog

Mirko Lino

Abstract


This paper investigates the deep relationship between the films of German filmmaker Werner Herzog and the conceptual category of the impossible, especially the cinematic representation of something which can be defined as “unrepresentable”. The analysis focuses on the stylistic modes that contributed to making Herzog’s cinema recognizable, with attention to the following interrelated items:

1) The cinematographic technique of the “ecstatic truth” (Prager, 2007);

2) The conceptualization of the gaze and the vision within the filmic text through stories and settings linked to the motifs of the challenge and the titanic enterprise (Grosoli and Reiter, 2000; 2016).

Thanks to the formal analysis of a corpus of fiction and documentary films, this paper tries to define funambulism and science in Herzog's filmography as instruments which convey on screen and in the viewer’s gaze stories, environments and landscapes that are poetically linked to the motif of the impossible.


Keywords


cinema; Werner Herzog; ecstatic truth; funambulism; science fiction

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References


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Sitografia

www.wernerherzog.com

Filmografia

Aguirre, furore di Dio (Aguirre, der Zorn gottes) Dir. Werner Herzog, Germany, 1972.

Alba della libertà (Rescue Dawn) Dir. Werner Herzog, USA, 2006.

Anche i nani hanno cominciato da piccoli (Auch Zwerge haben klein angefangen) Dir. Werner Herzog, Germany, 1970.

Apocalisse nel deserto (Lektionen in Finsternis) Dir. Werner Herzog, Germany, France, UK., 1992.

Avatar, Dir. James Cameron, USA, UK., 2009.

Burden of Dream, Dir. Les Blank, USA, 1982.

Cobra Verde, Dir. Werner Herzog, Germany, 1987

Cuore di vetro (Herz aus Glas) Dir. Werner Herzog, Germany, 1977.

Dentro l’inferno (Into the Inferno) Dir. Werner Herzog, UK, Austria, 2007.

Die Verwandlung der Welt in Musik: Bayreuth vor der Premiere, Dir. Werner Herzog, Germany, 1994.

Fata Morgana, Dir. Werner Herzog, Germany, 1970.

Fitzcarraldo, Dir. Werner Herzog, Germany, 1982.

Gasherbrum – Der leuchtende Berg, Dir. Werner Herzog, Germany, 1984.

Gesualdo – Morte per cinque voci (Tod für fünf Stimmen) Dir. Werner Herzog, Germany, 1995.

Grido di pietra (Cerro Torre: Schrei aus Stein) Dir. Werner Herzog, Canada, Germany, France, 1991.

Grizzly Man, Dir. Werner Herzog, USA, 2005.

Herakles, Dir. Werner Herzog, Germany, 1962.

Il diamante bianco (The White Diamond) Dir. Werner Herzog, USA, 2004.

Incontri alla fine del mondo (Encounters at the End of the World) Dir. Werner Herzog, USA, 2007.

Invincibile (Invincible), Dir. Werner Herzog, Germany, USA, Ireland, 2001.

L’ignoto spazio profondo (The Wild Blue Yonder) Dir. Werner Herzog, USA, 2005.

La ballata del piccolo soldato (Ballade vom kleinen Soldaten) Dir. Werner Herzog, Germany, 1984.

La caverna dei sogni dimenticati (Cave of Forgotten Dreams) Dir. Werner Herzog, Germany, France, Canada, USA, 2010.

La grande estasi dell’intagliatore Steiner (Die grosse Ekstase des Bildschnitzers Steiner) dir. Werner Herzog, Germany, 1974.

La Soufrière In attesa di una catastrofe inevitabile (La Soufrière - Warten auf eine unausweichliche Katastrophe) Dir. Werner Herzog, Germany, 1977.

Lezioni di cinema (Filmstunde) Dir. Werner Herzog, Germany, Austria, 1991.

Little Dieter Needs to Fly, Dir. Werner Herzog, France, Germany, UK, 1997.

Lo and Behold – Internet: il futuro è oggi (Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World) Dir. Werner Herzog, USA, 2016.

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done, Dir. Werner Herzog, Germany, USA, 2010.

 Nosferatu, Dir. Werner Herzog, Germany, France, 1979

Paese del silenzio e dell’oscurità (Land des Schweigens und der Dunkelheit) Dir. Werner Herzog, Germany, 1971.

Segni di vita (Lebenszeichen) Dir. Werner Herzog, Germany, 1967.

The Walk, Dir. Robert Zemeckis, USA, 2015.

Un uomo tra le torri (Man on Wire) Dir. John Marsh, USA, UK, 2008.

Wings of Hope, Dir. Werner Herzog, Germany, 1999.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/3657

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