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Werner Herzog's poetic opinion on emojis


Utilising one of the most distinctive voices and personalities in all of cinema, the dulcet tones of Werner Herzog remains an iconic feature of some of cinema’s finest documentaries. Taking his audiences on a psychoactive trip, unpacking some of life’s most fascinating topics with surreal, existential musings, Herzog’s triumphs span both fictional and documentary cinema, working closely with the late actor Klaus Kinski to bring his wild visions to life. 

Making his first film in 1961 at the age of 19, the influential filmmaker has since enjoyed well over 50 prolific years in the filmmaking industry, which has resulted in numerous critically acclaimed releases. Recognised as a widely respected filmmaker, the iconic French filmmaker François Truffaut once called Herzog “the most important film director alive,” and for a good reason, too, often addressing life’s most difficult questions with philosophical resolve.

He remains one of the most important figures in the evolution of filmmaking during the 20th century, with notable contributions to New German cinema through masterpieces such as Stroszek and Aguirre, the Wrath of God. Not without criticism of modern cinema, however, Werner Herzog denounced the contemporary documentary format, reporting the genre “have not divorced [the medium] from journalism. They are very often ‘issue films’ about a social problem, and there has to be redemption and hope at the end. I don’t like this kind of cinema”. 

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This is far from Werner Herzog’s only criticism of contemporary media, with the filmmaker revealing his opinion on the gargantuan impact of the internet in his 2016 film, Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World. Speaking to WIRED in an interview about ‘digital etiquette’, Herzog revealed: “I don’t have a cell phone, I hardly use the internet, I don’t have a Twitter account, I know what Facebook is all about and I decided not to sign up”. 

When asked by a fan if they should use emojis, Werner Herzog was quick to respond, “I don’t even know what it is”. After being told of their meaning and existence, the filmmaker added, “What do I think about it? Let them keep smiling, I don’t care”. 

There’s something about hearing Werner Herzog tell people to let emoji’s “keep smiling” that is simply so joyously wholesome, we can’t help but love the filmmaker. Among the director’s more famous documentary feature films, Encounters At The End Of The World, Little Dieter Needs To Fly and Grizzly Man, Lo and Behold Reveries of the Connected World is often forgotten as a triumph of Herzog’s filmography. 

Charting the history of the internet whilst musing about the shape of its future, check out the trailer for Lo and Behold Reveries of the Connected World below.