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(Credit: Raffi Asdourian)

Film

Werner Herzog claims that he makes funnier films than Eddie Murphy

A pioneer of New German Cinema who has continued to produce seminal masterpieces throughout the rest of his illustrious career, Werner Herzog is an indispensable part of filmmaking history as well as the current landscape of cinema. Known for his unforgettable masterpieces such as Aguirre, the Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo, Herzog’s works have inspired countless others.

Even after all these years, Herzog is still ready to jump onto new projects but he hasn’t been able to do that because of financial limitations. “I am writing poetry and prose texts, which doesn’t cost much money and I can do it in a reclusive environment,” Herzog explained last year while talking to Rolling Stone about the pandemic. “If I had the finances ready, I could start six feature films,” he added.

He also expressed his disappointment at the fact that students have stopped reading: “Even young students who study ancient Greek barely read a book. It’s a catastrophic evolution. It’s not the tweets,” he continued. “The tweets are only the discourse on the internet in chat rooms that are monosyllabic and filled now with emojis. A tweet does not induce you to conceptual thinking. They are only the end of an evolution that has gone on for decades and I do not welcome it”.

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Herzog has always been a fascinating person to talk to, especially because of his willingness to always embrace the absurd. In a separate interview, he told the audience about the time he had a deep philosophical discussion with the Dalai Lama, who spoke to him about the human condition as well as the act of looking at oneself through various existential lenses.

The interviewer recalled the time when the Dalai Lama told Herzog that “every person is at the centre of their own universe”. Herzog revisited the story, stating that the Dalai Lama elaborated his argument by saying: “Well, in that definition, I would be the centre of the universe and you would be the centre of the universe.” Upon hearing this, Herzog quickly retorted: “Your holiness, please don’t tell that to my wife”.

Adding to this joke, Herzog claimed that his works have always displayed a strong sense of humour but it hasn’t always been accepted by audiences. He cited his bizarre 1970 comedy-drama Even Dwarfs Started Small, which features a cast entirely made up of little people, as an example: “More than any obsession or anything else, there’s humour in my films including Even Dwarfs Started Small but it’s a very dark sort of humour.”

Herzog also insisted that he makes funnier films than Eddie Murphy, declaring that his collaboration with Nicolas Cage was more hilarious than anything Murphy ever produced: “In The Bad Lieutenant, audiences laughed more than an Eddie Murphy comedy. They laughed from the first till the last minute. This is wonderful to see that people finally accept my kind of humour and I really like that… I certainly have humour and it should not be overlooked.”

See the clip, below.