Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

DISPATCH FROM LOS ANGELES | Herzog, Docs and Truth at AFI Fest

By Eugene Hernandez | Indiewire November 8, 2007 at 3:08AM

It should surprise no one that Werner Herzog's new film about Antartica, "Encounters at the End of the World," is the antithesis of the most successful documentary releases in recent years, "March of the Penguins" and "An Inconvenient Truth." Talking about filmmaking and his latest project during an AFI Fest conversation earlier this week in Los Angeles, Herzog noted that he didn't want to make a film on "fluffy penguins" and he wasn't trying to make a movie overtly about the climate crisis, later adding that however effective the film, "An Inconvient Truth" is actually a slideshow. His remarks effectively challenged the large audience to reconsider its own views on non-fiction film as AFI Fest unspooled a roster of acclaimed new documentary films.
0

It should surprise no one that Werner Herzog's new film about Antartica, "Encounters at the End of the World," is the antithesis of the most successful documentary releases in recent years, "March of the Penguins" and "An Inconvenient Truth." Talking about filmmaking and his latest project during an AFI Fest conversation earlier this week in Los Angeles, Herzog noted that he didn't want to make a film on "fluffy penguins" and he wasn't trying to make a movie overtly about the climate crisis, later adding that however effective the film, "An Inconvient Truth" is actually a slideshow. His remarks effectively challenged the large audience to reconsider its own views on non-fiction film as AFI Fest unspooled a roster of acclaimed new documentary films.

During Sunday's discussion, Herzog candidly offered that he could care less about embracing the term "documentary," noting that his movies are actually "fiction film in disguise."

"Objective truth is baloney," Werner Herzog noted bluntly during the AFI Fest conversation, adding that there is no such concept, even in mathematics. Continuing he detailed that "facts do not constitute truth." He explained that the guiding principles for filmmakers and audiences alike -- perhaps the ultimate power of documentary -- should simply be a genuine "quest for truth."

In the AFI Fest competition documentary "Afghan Muscles," director Andreas Mol Dalsgaard seeks to offer, in his own recent words, "more than what you see in the news." Portraying the lives and struggles of ordinary Afghanis, he explores the country's most popular sport: bodybuilding. The film follows the ups-and-downs as a pair of brothers vye for a bodybuilding title. Along the way, he delivers a striking look inside an insular world where men examine and judge other men. The blatant homoeroticism felt by the viewer is hardly an accident, Dalsgaard excluded the separate role of women in the sport to parallel the realities of the local culture. "It's men looking at men," he explained during a Q & A this week, adding, "60% [of men] have their first sexual experience with another man."

Andreas Mol Dalsgaard (right), talking about his new film, "Afghan Muscles." Photo by Eugene Hernandez

"Muscles" is one of the docs in competition at AFI Fest, along with Andrea Kreuzhage's "1000 Journals," Colectivo Klamve's "Atenco, A Crime of State" (Atenco, Un Crimen de Estado), Guido Santi & Tina Macara's "Chris & Don, A Love Story," Michael Addis's "Heckler," Nina Davenport's "Operation Filmmaker," Steve York's "Orange Revolution," Weijun Chen's "Please Vote For Me," Robert Patton-Spruill's "Public Enemy: Welcome to the Terrordome," Oded Lotan's "The Quest for the Missing Piece" (Behikvot Ahatiha Ahasera"), Dean de Blois's "Sigur Ros - Heima" and Laura Dunn's "The Unforseen."

Also offering a true story with an agenda is Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro's "Body of War." After rousing screenings at the Toronto International Film Festival back in September and then the Hamptons International Film Festival last month, the film drew a standing ovation on Tuesday night at AFI Fest. It depicts the life of a paralyzed Iraqi war veteran turned anti-war activist. "See the pain," Donahue advocated, "Don't sanitize this war. This is only one example." The film combines C-SPAN footage of Senators debating and then voting authorization for the war in Iraq.

In non-fiction filmmaking, directors should simply "bury any attempt at objectivity," Herzog concluded during the AFI Fest conversation earlier in the week. And criticizing documentarians' focus on cinema verite, he emphasized, "There is no such thing."

This article is related to: Features, Festival Dispatch






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More