EIt’s a December night, 2020. I’m sitting in front of my laptop in my office in Augsburg. In a few minutes I have an appointment with Werner Herzog for a Skype call. Significantly, his profile picture shows a rugged rocky island in the raging sea instead of a face. I keep telling myself: Ultimately, Werner Herzog, the legendary director who has a stubborn reputation for being unpredictable and borderline insane, is only human, isn’t he? Nevertheless, to my own surprise, I am now in a state of extreme nervousness.
First of all, of course, there are these films. Unforgettable when I happened to be watching TV at night as a kid in the late 80’s and Kinski fought his way through the jungle as a Spanish conquistador, at war with himself and the universe. I was both deeply disturbed and fascinated. “Aguirre – The Wrath of God”, now more than fifty years old, was and is unlike anything that has ever been seen in the cinema. A documentary from the Middle Ages, fantastic and realistic at the same time. Then there are Herzog’s diaries, Walking in the Ice and Conquering the Useless. An inexhaustible source of inspiration for me as a young writer. On the one hand, this is due to the language, which seems to have fallen out of time. You could call it Herzogian, a peculiar mixture of expressiveness reminiscent of Georg Büchner’s “Lenz”, Thomas Bernhard-like sentence variations, precise poetic observations of nature, and all of that spiced with Bavarian idioms.