Werner Herzog may not know how to pronounce Kanye West’s first name, but what he does know is the rapper, record producer and fashion designer does have filmmaking talent. This week, Herzog watched West’s “Famous” music video that features celebrity lookalikes ranging from Bill Cosby to Donald Trump to Caitlyn Jenner. During Herzog’s analysis, The Daily Beast’s Jen Yamato helped him with how to pronounce “Kanye” and confirmed for the filmmaker that the people who appear in the video are not the real celebrities, other than West himself.
“That’s an interesting thing that the internet can create: doppelgängers,” Herzog said during the commentary. “The most interesting thing for me as a storyteller is … in a movie, yes, you do have a story, and you develop a story. But at the same time you have to be very careful and think about and organize a parallel story, a separate, independent story that only occurs in the collective mind of the audience.”
One of the things that Herzog believes gives the video merit is the way it sparks questions in the viewer’s mind. “You keep thinking, are these people for real? Are they doppelgängers? And what could be the story of them? What are they doing? How have they partied? What brought them together? So all of a sudden, the rapper gives me the chance to completely go wild on my own story… I see something very wild here, which is essential in real deep storytelling.”
Herzog even went so far as to say that if West had submitted the video as part of an application to Herzog’s Rogue Film School, he would have admitted him. “The fact that there’s just breathing and imagining is wonderful about it,” Herzog said. “This is very good stuff.”
Check out the NSFW video with Herzog’s commentary below.