I’ve mentioned before that I absolutely love Werner Herzog. Not so much his films, especially not his dramatic ones. What I love is his Nietszchean, über-miserablist persona as demonstrated in his documentaries and also shown beautifully in the video below about the making of his film/descent into madness/love-hate platonic affair with Klaus Kinski, Fitzcarraldo. I just find Herzog hilarious, especially having heard him talk about yoga or celebrities with the same carefully sculpted loathing as he expresses here for nature: “The trees here are in misery, the birds here are in misery. I don’t think they sing, they just screech in pain.”
Werner Herzog has a new documentary about the Palaeolithic cave paintings at Chauvet. When anybody asks me who my favourite artists are or which artists I most identify with, I occasionally answer that my favourite artists are the ones who painted Chauvet, Altamira, and the other European cave sites that we know of. Sometimes I’m even serious about it, so I look forward to seeing Caves of Forgotten Dreams. Jean Clotte’s Return to Chauvet Cave is a thorough, big and beautiful book about the place, if you’re at all interested. I’m not wild about Herzog as a narrative film director, but I love him as a documentarian and I recently watched his film about human presence and intervention in Antarctica, Encounters at the End of the World. Both of these things inspired me to write a little something about this magnificently miserable old bastard.