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Censorship will be enforced - There will be no talk of shamans, of yoga classes, nutritional values, herbal teas, discovering your Boundaries, and Inner Growth.
September 23, 2009 10:36 AM   Subscribe

The Rogue Film School is not for the faint-hearted, it is for those who have travelled on foot, who have worked as bouncers in sex clubs or as wardens in a lunatic asylum, for those who are willing to learn about lock-picking or forging shooting permits in countries not favouring their projects. In short: it is for those who have a sense for poetry. For those who are pilgrims. For those who can tell a story to four-year-old children and hold their attention. For those who have a fire burning within. For those who have a dream. Learn film with Werner Herzog.
posted by fearfulsymmetry (36 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
I had no idea that the Academy Award-nominated German film director, producer, screenwriter, actor, and opera director was such a bad-ass. He should have a shrine to his own bad self. Wait, is that what this is?

Related again: Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (clip, whole video)
posted by filthy light thief at 10:50 AM on September 23, 2009


Lock picking, forging, and working as bouncers in sex clubs or as wardens in a lunatic asylum implies having a sense of poetry? Really?

*updates resume*
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:50 AM on September 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Film School Day 1: We were assembled in front of Herzog, outside, on the campus quad in the pouring rain. He addressed us, telling us he, although having never met us, hated us. That is, he said, the only way he could love us; enter into the creative gestalt with us; through torment; through the destruction of the destructive urge. We would become as diamond through the immense pressure of his instruction, he said. He threw his shoe at the crowd, then wept bitterly.

Nobody attempted to shoot him, much to his disappointment.

posted by boo_radley at 10:52 AM on September 23, 2009 [13 favorites]


Follow your vision. Form secretive Rogue Cells everywhere. At the same time, be not afraid of solitude.

Good to see that Werner is still in touch with his inner 14-year-old. I'd like to see him film one of the Hardy Boy books.
posted by Faze at 10:52 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


And absolutely no chickens.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:54 AM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


For those who can tell a story to four-year-old children and hold their attention.

Clearly whoever wrote this copy has not spent enough time around 4-year-olds.
posted by explosion at 10:56 AM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, now I know what my dad wants for Christmas.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:57 AM on September 23, 2009


"My advice is don't take a backpack with you, be exposed, be unprotected, be in a situation where you have to ask the next farmer at nightfall to sleep in his hay, or find a place under a bridge or whatever. Don't do it as a backpacker. Travel on foot yes, but I would only do it if there was a real reason for it." [...] "Nowadays you can do it with digital camera like I did in Tibet. I shot the entire Tibetan part of Wheel of Time on a tiny digital camera. Work as a taxi driver, work as bouncer in a sex club, work as a warden in a lunatic asylum. Do something which is really into pura vida as the Mexicans would say, into the very pure essence of life. I would prefer you to work as bouncer in a sex club to earn money. You have to take the first steps yourself because nobody is going to be on your side. And once you have something presentable, from there it may or may not take off, but at least you have a much better chance. At least you can make the film."

- Herzog, from a BBC interview
posted by oulipian at 11:19 AM on September 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Censorship will be enforced. There will be no talk of shamans, of yoga classes, nutritional values, herbal teas, discovering your Boundaries, and Inner Growth.

I would like to impose this rule on everyone, forever.
posted by nestor_makhno at 11:37 AM on September 23, 2009 [12 favorites]


"People who are insensitive enough to refer to people with disabilities as 'lunatics'"
posted by mattholomew at 11:45 AM on September 23, 2009


I sure there's an Apprentice-style show in this ... 'fired' candidates will be shot and/or fed to rabid grizzly bears.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:58 AM on September 23, 2009


Rats, this turns up right after I sent in my tuition to the Uwe Boll film school / mixed martial arts academy.
posted by jenkinsEar at 1:04 PM on September 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wouldn't it be more likely that the fired candidate would have to direct the next episode?
posted by Elmore at 1:06 PM on September 23, 2009


I so totally want this.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:33 PM on September 23, 2009


Snark all you want, but if it involves studying with Werner Herzog, it's a good thing. I just watched his "Encounters at the End of the World," and found it to be engrossing, totally honest, and a bit weird, like the auteur himself. Some of his films, of course, are more than "a bit" weird.
posted by kozad at 1:38 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am teaching a course this semester on the films of Werner Herzog. Didn't know, until my students told me about it quite recently, about the Rogue Film School. Wish I could have somehow synched up my class with the RFS, but it was not to be. (I tried to get him to come to campus, but no dice.)

The book-length interview that Paul Cronin conducted with Herzog is really quite terrific. Highly readable stuff.

The most pleasing thing, though, so far this semester is that the films, in my eyes, hold up exceptionally well. That six-DVD set available from Herzog's own site (linked above; scroll down a bit) is really excellent.
posted by Dr. Wu at 1:40 PM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Herzog: "I think people have usually misrepresented the relationship between Klaus Kinski and me. He is the only person, basically, who ever taught me anything. I'm completely self-made. I was never an assistant, nor did I attend a film school."
posted by msalt at 1:59 PM on September 23, 2009


Lock picking, forging, and working as bouncers in sex clubs or as wardens in a lunatic asylum implies having a sense of poetry?

It's funny, because these are the very skills I've gone to great lengths to prevent everyone around me from finding out about.

I could have been trading on this poet thing a long time ago.
posted by quin at 2:26 PM on September 23, 2009


Just above...

Censorship will be enforced. There will be no talk of shamans, of yoga classes, nutritional values, herbal teas, discovering your Boundaries, and Inner Growth.

was...

The exhilaration of being shot at unsuccessfully.

This makes me wonder a bit just what he's been up to recently.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:36 PM on September 23, 2009


"It does not bespeak great wisdom to call the film The Bad Lieutenant, and I only agreed to make the film after William (Billy) Finkelstein, the screenwriter, who had seen a film of the same name from the early nineties, had given me a solemn oath that this was not a remake at all. But the film industry has its own rationale, which in this case was the speculation of some sort of franchise. I have no problem with this. Nevertheless, the pedantic branch of academia, the so called 'film-studies,' in its attempt to do damage to cinema, will be ecstatic to find a small reference to that earlier film here and there, though it will fail to do the same damage that academia — in the name of literary theory — has done to poetry, which it has pushed to the brink of extinction. Cinema, so far, is more robust. I call upon the theoreticians of cinema to go after this one. Go for it, losers."

—Werner Herzog discusses Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.
posted by StopMakingSense at 2:37 PM on September 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Anybody remember that VH1 show where the Nuge made prospective interns play chicken against his Hummer and flay their own bison?

We have GOT to get these two together.
posted by Madamina at 2:37 PM on September 23, 2009


Herzog: "I think people have usually misrepresented the relationship between Klaus Kinski and me. He is the only person, basically, who ever taught me anything. I'm completely self-made. I was never an assistant, nor did I attend a film school."
posted by msalt at 1:59 PM on September 23 [+] [!]

His most profound lesson.
posted by basicchannel at 2:44 PM on September 23, 2009


Yeah, that was kind of my point. But the Kinski links are pretty fascinating, too.
posted by msalt at 2:48 PM on September 23, 2009


Nice reading list:

Related, but more reflective, will be a reading list: if possible, read Virgil's "Georgics", read "Hemingway's "The short happy life of Francis Macomber", The Poetic Edda, translated by Lee M. Hollander (in particular the Prophecy of the Seeress), Bernal Diaz del Castillo "True History of the Conquest of New Spain".
posted by gyusan at 4:11 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just made a film that I think he would like. I would go if: 1. I had the money. 2.He didn't scare the shit out of me. 3. If L. A didn't scare the shit out of me. Thanks for the heads up.
Sounds perfect for me.
posted by JohnR at 4:27 PM on September 23, 2009


$1450 per person, for the weekend. Nice way for Herzog to make a lot of money, in a single weekend, from a lot of star-struck chumps.
posted by jayder at 5:35 PM on September 23, 2009


Don't forget the nonrefundable $25 application fee. I love Herzog, and my homage to him here is to say "Fuck you, Herzog." I'm sure that's what he would do.
posted by rusty at 5:55 PM on September 23, 2009


A successful applicant with the background forgery / lockpick / bouncing skills also sounds like someone who would fight the authoritarian Herzog diktat and figure out how to sneak a recording device in, no?
posted by Meatbomb at 5:59 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


A successful applicant with the background forgery / lockpick / bouncing skills also sounds like someone who would fight the authoritarian Herzog diktat and figure out how to sneak a recording device in, no?

Yeah, what man of spirit would put up with this crap, anyway? Herzog's my favorite director, but there's no question that the real Herzog would never be a student at a corny fantasy camp like the Rogue School of Filmmaking. He'd sign up for the Sophia Coppola school of tu-tu dancing, wine tasting and filmmaking, show up with hunchback and a prostitute in tow, hypnotize everybody, steal the silverware, and screw Scarlett Johansson. I would hope.
posted by Faze at 6:19 PM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I can make my own Rogue Films, thank you very much. Now if Werner were to open a Rouge Film school.... totally different story.
posted by tighttrousers at 7:23 PM on September 23, 2009


Encounters at the End of the World is a pale imitation of a Herzog film. Keep looking, you haven't actually seen anything yet.
posted by intermod at 8:06 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I suggest watching "The Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner", which is Herzog hijacking a TV gig, covering a skijumping competition for Bavarian televisionn in Yugoslavia and turning it into a scathing critique of sports celebrity. (Using Krautrockers Popol Vuh as a soundtrack).

If you really want to see some incredible film making buy his box set of obscure shit. It's hit and miss, but the hits are phenominal. Roger Ebert sums it up.
posted by tighttrousers at 9:12 PM on September 23, 2009


FYI, Herzog is being interviewed on Q Thursday morning. Q is CBC Radio's arts show, hosted by Jian Ghomeshi (previously).
posted by oulipian at 9:43 PM on September 23, 2009


"... Nevertheless, the pedantic branch of academia, the so called 'film-studies,' in its attempt to do damage to cinema, will be ecstatic to find a small reference to that earlier film here and there, though it will fail to do the same damage that academia — in the name of literary theory — has done to poetry, which it has pushed to the brink of extinction. Cinema, so far, is more robust. I call upon the theoreticians of cinema to go after this one. Go for it, losers."

—Werner Herzog discusses Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.
posted by StopMakingSense


Since, as I mentioned above, I am teaching a undergraduate Herzog course this semester, I guess I should respond to Herzog's remarks about academic pedantry.

An Open Letter to Werner Herzog

Dear Herr Herzog,

I am a longtime admirer of your work, as well as of your working methods. I truly believe you have created some of the most lasting, poignant filmed imagery of the last several decades, and I continue to take pleasure in watching and rewatching your films.

I am also a film professor by profession - one who teaches within the discipline of film studies. Which is to say that (though I have some limited film/video production experience), I do not teach filmmaking, but the analysis of film.

That said, I generally agree with you that most academic work is navelgazing hogwash. Literary theory can kiss my ass. But, respectfully, neither your work nor anyone else's is above analysis. And this is my goal as a professor: to help my students learn how to make sense of films, to understand how films create meaning of all kinds: aesthetic, "documentary," historical, argumentative, etc. While, yes, I do teach film theory on occasion, I do so in the service of understanding the major ideas that have been advanced to make sense of cinema -- not to push my own agenda on the students, nor to encourage them to interpret any films they may see.

In fact, I agree with you regarding interpretation: neither of us has any place for it. But there is a major difference between interpretation (bringing in outside contexts for the purpose of slotting a film into one or another paradigm) and analysis (studying the film itself: how it's put together, how it affects us as spectators). Respectfully, I am entirely concerned with the latter; not at all with the former.

You're right: poetry has probably been killed by overeager literary theorists. You're also right that film is far more robust and complex than poetry. But, like you, I am a lover of cinema, and I have no interest in killing it, or even doing the equivalent of pulling out even a single one of the hairs on its head. I teach and study film because I love film, and because I love analyzing the ways in which film works on the levels of aesthetics, narration, and emotion. I'm teaching the course in your films because I love your films; I can't imagine teaching a course on the films of a director whose work I loathe.

Before this current semester began, I extended an invitation to you to visit our campus; I'm extending it once again. (I corresponded by email with your office on December 10, 2008; please refer to that correspondence for my contact information.) I teach in the greater New York City metropolitan area, a city I'm sure you visit every now and then. So this is not just an open letter, but an open invitation: Come to my class. Speak to my students. Challenge them, and open their minds. Mess with their heads - they could use it. Consider hosting a reduced-scale Rogue Film School on my campus - we have excellent production facilities, and an eager student population.

Please open your mind to the possibility that the analytical tradition within film studies may have something worthwhile to say about your superb body of work.

My students and I would surely learn a great deal from such a visit. And I promise not to serve herbal tea.

Herr Herzog, I believe that you are a man of great sincerity. So am I. This invitation is entirely genuine. I hope to hear from you.
posted by Dr. Wu at 6:41 AM on September 24, 2009


Dear Dr. Wu:

tl;dr

Love, Werner
posted by msalt at 2:08 PM on September 24, 2009


I wore my new tl;dr MetaFilter T-shirt in public for the first time this week, and the very first place I went, a cashier asked me what it stood for. I said, "Too long, didn't..." But at about the word "didn't," I could see her eyes kind of glaze over. Three words into the explanation she had asked for, and she no longer cared. "...read," I finished. "Oh," she replied, with absolutely no emotion at all. I nearly wet myself with liquid irony.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:17 PM on September 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


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