Fata Morgana (1971)

Fata Morgana (1971) movie poster

director Werner Herzog
viewed: 11/27/2016

Werner Herzog may now be a national treasure (he lives here so he’s ours, right?), and he’s still churning out films, fiction and documentary, like a machine.  But what cemented Herzog as an important figure in cinema was his early works, radical, weird, profound, and often “out there”.

While I’ve seen several of his early fiction films, Fata Morgana is the earliest of his documentaries I’ve managed to see.  The title refers to mirages, optical illusions of distant objects, and the film opens with a series of airplane landings followed by long tracking shots of desert landscapes.  The soundtrack starts with a strange melange of things, I think from the Third Ear band, along with a version of the Mayan creation myth.

It’s the kind of ethereal, meditative stuff that could really aid insomniacs.  Though it is also interesting and contemplative.

But the film shifts gears and moves away from landscapes to the people of the landscapes, from group shots to live portraiture, eventually into moments of discussion where a German naturalist describes the life of a desert-dwelling lizard.  And then Leonard Cohen music.  And this strange two-piece band.  And suddenly you’re kind of on the other side of things, wondering how this all fits together. With chapter titles like “Creation”, “Paradise”, and “The Golden Age” you can draw your own conclusions about implied meanings.

For my money, it was interesting, starting out sort of like Koyaanisqatsi (1982) but venturing into unexplained weirdnesses with people and animals and goggles.  Where the weird meets the sublime.

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974)

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974) Red Vic movie poster

director Werner Herzog
viewed: 06/19/2016

How do you solve an enigma like Kaspar Hauser?  Werner Herzog’s interpretation of the real life story of the roughly 16 year old foundling is to hew as closely to the “facts” as possible.  Those facts have been in question since the very discovery of the German boy in 1828.  Herzog ignores the haters and follows Hauser’s claim to have been held captive in a close cellar chained to the floor with little or no human interaction until a somewhat sudden release.  Entering the world for the first time with very few words and limited knowledge, Hauser is for Herzog a human blank slate.

Bruno S., the mentally ill street musician that Herzog discovered from a television documentary, plays the teen despite the fact that he is a middle-aged man.  Bruno S.’s unique performance is exactly what Herzog intended, as is the cognitive dissonance of trying to interpret man as child, or man as man-child?

Herzog disputes none of Hauser’s claims, plays them as they were known, and turns Hauser into the figure of the individual, placed into even the reasonable arms of society, is somewhat a bird in a cage (many surround him in his own prison home) somewhat a fish out of water.  Though one might think him a fish for whom no water exists.

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser might be an apt name for a typical biographical narrative about the boy, but Herzog’s original German title, Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle, Every Man for Himself and God Against All is both more apt and far more Herzogian.

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010)

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010) movie poster

directors Dmitry Vasyukov, Werner Herzog
viewed: 12/26/2013

I like Werner Herzog as well as anybody.  He seems like a great guy to have dinner with.  He’s made great films in both narrative and non-fiction and continues to knock movies out right and left on any number of interesting subjects.  And whether the films are great or not, he manages to inject his own generous humanism to everything, often in his own gentle Germanic voiceovers.

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga was recommended to me by more than one person.  It’s about a small village in a very isolated part of Siberia, on the edge of the massive wilderness of the Taiga, people utterly cut off from everything else much of the year.  In particular, it focuses on the trappers who make their lives there, following them through an entire year of hard work, craftsmanship, and personal opinions on life and their world.

The film came about because it was originally shot by Dmitry Vasyukov for Russian television in a series of films with a much longer running time.  Herzog became fascinated with the content and offered to edit the material for export into a 90 minute or so single documentary, with his own narration.  Vasyukov agreed and Herzog had total control after that point.

This might seem sort of weird, but actually, Herzog’s best known documentary Grizzly Man (2005) evolved similarly as Herzog employed tons of footage that was shot by his subject, Timothy Treadwell.  For that film, Herzog shot some interviews of his own and added more material, but you can see how the idea of re-editing someone else’s work into something new was a clear opportunity for him.

It’s easy to see inside Herzog’s mind in certain ways.  He lays it all out there for you.  He tells you what he thinks.  You can see his interest in the way that much of the ways and techniques of these people of the Taiga capture his imagination because they are traditional and generally not modern.  They live in commune with nature, a very rough and brutal nature so frozen and far away.  But that these people are happy and satisfied, this is also his point and focus.

Actually, I think the title isn’t the best.  Sure, they are happy.  But they’re not that happy.  It’s very interesting to watch.  It’s usually quite fun to travel along Herzog’s trails around our world.

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) movie poster

director Werner Herzog
viewed: 08/30/2012

After watching Werner Herzog’s Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970), I bethought myself that I would do well to see, or in this case, re-see, his early feature films.  I had seen Aguirre, the Wrath of God when I was a teenager, oddly enough, experimenting with foreign films from the video store (and I think probably recommended by Siskel and Ebert).  I probably didn’t have the knowledge and perspective to fully appreciate the film at the time, though the images stayed with me in large part.

It’s an amazing, crazy film.  Fictionalizing an account of some real conquistadors, the film follows a large army as it gets lost in the Peruvian wilderness.  A group, including Don Lope de Aguirre (Klaus Kinski) gets sent off to try and meet up with another party.  They’ve been on the hunt for the famed city of gold, El Dorado, and they live out the metaphor that such a quest has evolved into, a quest to the death, searching for an illusion.  Aguirre quickly turns on his captain, mutinying the crew and electing the one noble among them a new king, really machinating his way to leadership.  Aguirre is mad as a hatter, tromping around like a paranoid Richard III, bug-eyed and dangerous.

The crew lived out a version of this metaphor, right along with the characters.  They dragged their crew and equipment up into the mountains, rode rafts made by the indigenous people who worked on and appeared in the film, suffered starvation and hardships and they had a super-crazy megalomaniac on the set too in Kinski.  Herzog reflected on the production of Aguirre in his documentary My Best Fiend (1999), how the local Indians offered to kill Kinski for him at one point, as a way of being helpful.  The film, as naturalistic as the cinematography is, deep in the muck and the mud, carrying a massively heavy canon through the jungle, it’s a quest of its own kind on a shoestring budget.

The film’s best moment comes toward the end, when Aguirre sees a ship hanging from some trees, with its rowboat dangling below.  It’s a harbinger of doom.  Was it the other lost Spanish ship?  Is it a hallucination?  As delirium takes over and Aguirre is left aboard the raft, the only living thing surrounded by a teeming swarm of monkeys, delusion or reality, it doesn’t matter anymore.

It’s quite brilliant, quite simple, beautiful as well.  It raises more questions for me about Herzog as a filmmaker.  He was clearly quite the wunderkind at one point.  His modern self seems like a fascinating, kind, interesting soul, still cranking out films at a great rate, both documentary and fictional, still delving into areas of madness, inspiration, individuality, the extremes of life.  His modern fiction films have felt much more hackneyed, so it’s interesting to see his work when it had its full verve.

Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970)

Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970) movie poster

director Werner Herzog
viewed: 05/26/2012

This film, one of director Werner Herzog’s first, is one of the more bizarre films that I have seen in recent memory.  The Wikipedia entry on the film sums the narrative up concisely: “A group of dwarfs confined in an institution on a remote island rebel against the guards and director (all dwarfs as well) in a display of mayhem. The dwarfs gleefully break windows and dishes, abandon a running truck to drive itself in circles, engineer food fights and cock fights, set fire to pots of flowers, kill a large pig, torment some blind dwarfs, and crucify a monkey.”

I decided to watch this one as an oddball “dwarf” double feature, a semi-random selection, with another film, The Sinful Dwarf (1973).  Even Dwarfs Started Small, oddly enough, isn’t an exploitation film, per se.  Though it is noted as being the first feature film since the notorious 1938 Western, The Terror of Tiny Town, to feature an “all-midget” cast.  Herzog’s intent and the film’s marketing perhaps are what keep it from being technically an exploitation film.  That said, it’s utterly possible to watch it in the vein of exploitation, even if that is somewhat missing the point.

Exploitation or not, it’s a cult film.  A cult film with fans such as Crispin Glover, who appears on the commentary track with Herzog discussing the film.  It’s akin, perhaps, to David Lynch as well, really a surreal imagining of a world of madness and chaos and anarchy.  The images bring to mind the photography of Diane Arbus’ images of the mentally disabled, though the characters of Herzog’s film are actors, albeit non-professional actors.  They also call to mind elements of Tod Browning’s Freaks (1932).

A mad, sinister chuckle-cum-cackle pervades the soundtrack almost incessantly, evoked from one of two of the actors, who Herzog goaded into constant laughter.

Disturbing as well are elements of animal abuse or at least actual animal violence or suggested violence.  Herzog interposes images of chickens pecking at a dead chicken, essentially cannibalizing, as well as images of chickens harassing a one-legged chicken.  Chickens are also thrown through a window at one point, subdued rather violently and with a couple of them dying.  A sow is killed (supposedly by the curious inmates), and while this was done according to more humane slaughter practice, it is shown in its death throes with its piglets suckling madly at the dying beast.  And yes, a monkey is crucified, though tied with string, not nailed to a cross.  These elements of veritable physical violence supplement the psychic violence and mad disturbance of the rest of the film’s suggested and real traumas.  Not unlike the notorious Cannibal Holocaust (1980), the real images of animal deaths enhance the rest of the film’s violence, giving it greater impact by suggestion and association.

The impact of the film is disturbing and fascinating.  It’s a nightmare.  It’s metaphorical.  Like Arbus’ imagery, there is a voyeuristic, exploitational aspect, but also it crystalizes a deep-seeded sensibility of dissociation and otherness.  Playing out to the strains of increasing rebellion and anarchy, it also dredges a Lord of the Flies-like fear of the worst aspects of human nature unbridled by civilization, whatever evils civilization represents in its repression and restraints.  It’s compelling and effective as a bizarre horror show.

It’s interesting for me as I’ve been watching a lot of Herzog’s more recent works, both documentary films and narrative features, while interesting, a far cry from his more radical early films.  I’d never seen this one before and was very struck by it.  I do think it’s telling that the majority of parallels and references that I find for it are more pure Exploitation than not.

Into the Abyss (2011)

Into the Abyss (2011) movie poster

director Werner Herzog
viewed: 05/14/2012

Werner Herzog doesn’t consider his death row documentary Into the Abyss to be an anti-capital punishment film.  But it is, more or less.  It’s an exploration of the story of a particular heinous crime, committed in Texas in 2001 by two boys who were teenagers at the time.  They murdered two other teens and the mother of one of the victims, ostensibly to steal a Camaro.  One of the boys got a life sentence, the other a death sentence.  Herzog interviews them and their families, the families of the victims, police, and former workers in the execution process.

While Herzog is not heavy-handed, he states early on in one of the interviews that he is against the death penalty, that he believes that no one, no state, has the right to take the life of anyone.   Herzog is notorious for inserting himself, if not visually, distinctively, in his documentaries, with his soft German-accented English and strangely deep-thinking, interpretive and leading questions.  It would probably be more of a problem if he wasn’t so drawn to such compelling material, that his subjects evoke more than his voice can diminish.

The most compelling moments come from a couple of the interviewees.  Firstly the former director of the Texas facility that does the actual work of killing the inmates.  He had overseen the process of hundreds of executions, but after the first time that he put a woman through the process, he lost his nerve and sense of what he believed.  He stepped down from the job and is now avowedly anti-capital punishment.

The father of the boy who ended up with a life sentence, who himself is serving a 40 plus sentence in a facility “across the road” from his son, is the other extremely compelling presence.  He recounts how he testified for his son’s sentence to be commuted to life, as he was no kind of father to the boy, that the boy had little chance in life.  He goes on to talk about his shame in finding himself in prison with two of his sons, having Thanksgiving dinner together, and being handcuffed to his son.  His regrets and realizations reveal the pain and depth of soul-searching that he has undergone, that he truly lives with his sorrows.

The meetings with the survivors of the victims are sad as well.  It seems as if everyone in these families, the killers or the victims, have much tragedy and death within their clans.  What isn’t evoked in great perspective is the reality of the towns in which they live.  Herzog’s camera skims the town, but doesn’t seem to capture much there.

Herzog doesn’t beat the drum heavily in one way or another on the issues.  He shows sympathy with the families of the deceased, as with the prisoners and their families, but stating, as he does, where he stands leaves the film at a tilt, whether you agree with him or not on the issue.

The two prisoners deny their guilt, blaming one another.  The oldest story in a prison, perhaps.  But the boy murderer, now a young man with still very boyish looks, is executed 8 days after Herzog’s interview with him, adding some weight to the issue.  Guilty or not, regretful or not, this man, alive and vibrant in his interview, is now dead.  It’s little question as to his guilt as far as the film is concerned.  And the crimes were indeed heinous.

The other young man is now married to a very pretty and intelligent young woman who became involved with him through her work in advocating for prisoners.  By the end of the film she is pregnant, somehow, with the inmate’s child.  This is a dubious aspect that Herzog treats with gentleness, though it is also a very awkward thing in itself.

There is a lot going on in the film, a lot in the issues, in the stories.  And it’s a worthwhile endeavor.  I think I’d prefer if Herzog maybe produced his documentaries rather than directing them.  His personalization of the material, an honest enough fact of their production, seems typically odd and dissonant.  I mean, what did these small town Texans think of this oddball German film-maker?  With his probing, fancifully existential questions?

There are no answers.  Which is fine.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010) movie poster

(2010) director Werner Herzog
viewed: 07/10/2011 at Century San Francisco Centre 9 and XD, SF, CA

I am nothing if not adventurous in the films that I show to my kids.  Yet Werner Herzog’s 3-D documentary about the Chauvet cave in southern France and its archeological riches was one that felt even riskier.  Herzog’s slow-moving, metaphysical, reverent tone poem falls somewhere between documentary in the most literal sense (these images document cave paintings and bones of long-extinct animals exist in a cave that none of us will probably ever enter) and Herzog’s idiosyncratic approach to documentary that is deeply personal, spiritual, and over-arching in his German-accented narration.

Clara needed more convincing than Felix.  She being 7, fixated on Disney Channel’s Phineas and Ferb, this was a steeper jump than her soon-to-be 10 year old brother, who is quite interested in history and archeology.  The amazing thing was that they both liked it.  It was certainly slow for them.  Felix yawned often throughout.  Clara flopped around a lot, disappointed with the 3-D for lack of effect.  But toward the end, she oohed and aahed at the marvelous artwork and eventual, loosely related albino crocodile that Herzog settles upon in his parting comment about the ever-changing nature of the landscape.

The Chauvet cave, discovered in 1994, contains the oldest known cave paintings ever found.  Not only are they the oldest, but due to their isolation (the cliff face collapsed at some point, sealing the cave) has kept them preserved in a pristine state, giving them a vibrance of having only been recently etched, scratched, drawn on the walls.  Beyond that, they are works of great, stunning beauty.  Images of cave bears, horses, rhinos, lions, and numerous other long extinct creatures are presented with fluidity and style, drawn onto the surfaces, using the spaces to offer flickering essences of motion, using the spaces to create dimension.  It’s little wonder that a cinema man like Herzog sees proto-cinema in the art.

There are also a number of positive hand prints, made by a distinctly disfigured individual (his pinkie finger is uniquely wonky, thus allowing scientists to recognize his “sign” throughout the cave.  But the cave itself is not just from one period but some of the drawings, overlapping like graffiti tags, were actually rendered many millennia apart.  The essence of the cave, the first artifacts of human culture, resonates deeply, not just for Herzog, but for all of us.  It’s the ultimate time capsule.

The artifacts are not all art, but many, many bones and skulls of creatures, namely cave bears, which indicate to scientists that man probably never dwelled in this cave (though the bears seemingly did), but that it was used primarily for this artistic purpose, which was likely much more than art but some significant spiritual purpose, which scientists can only speculate upon.  Some of the most amazing images are of the calcified skulls, the multitude of stalactites and stalagmites that have grown over the cave in the thousands of years since any kind of human entered the cave.

The cave is sealed and only scientists with top clearance are allowed down there.  They seek to continue to preserve everything in the cave so that it does not suffer like many of the most famous cave painting sites have, from erosion of human interaction.  There is indeed something mystical and magic about Chauvet, and Herzog’s team does the literal work of documenting via film, these things that none of us will ever experience in the flesh.

The 3-D, however, is very weak throughout the film because through the bulk of it, the cameras that Herzog is allowed to take down are not high-quality ones and his team must use hand-held, battery-powered lights, while staying on the narrow walkway to film the sights within.  Only toward the end, on their final plunge into the cave, are higher-quality cameras employed.  And so the final 15-20 minutes of the film does give a richer view of the paintings, the interior, and the space.  This was about where Clara perked up and became more interested.

I asked the kids how many of their friends from school would have gone to see this film this summer and they laughingly replied, “None.”  But even afterward, considering the film, the process of documenting, even Herzog’s somewhat charming, oddball narrative mysticism, the film struck them.  It’s a remarkable place.

I do want to add that the cost of going to the film at theCentury San Francisco Centre 9 and XD was exorbitant.  We’d last paid through the nose for Tangled (2010) here, and while the seats are very comfortable and the picture quality was very good, it was ridiculous to pay a $3.50 surcharge for the 3-D glasses, bringing the total cost of this film for the 3 of us on an afternoon to over $30.  When I say, “Not again,” I mean it.  Unless something incredibly compelling comes along.

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done

 

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (2009) movie poster

(2009) director Werner Herzog
viewed: 01/05/11

When I first read about My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done, I was intrigued.  Executive produced by David Lynch and directed by Werner Herzog, it tells the story of a man who, losing his mind while starring in a performance of Aeschylus’s Oresteia, a play about a man who slays his mother, winds up slaying his own mother with a samurai sword in some mixture in his mind between myth, theater, and reality.  When I first read about it, I was intrigued.  But it didn’t take more than a breath or two more to recall that Werner Herzog, while a groundbreaking director perhaps in the 1970’s, and a guy who has made some interesting films even more recently, also has proven himself a consumate hack as a director in my assessment of late.

From his wantonly bad (though entertainingly mad) The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans (2009) to his interesting yet at times hackneyed documentaries (My Best Fiend (1999), Grizzly Man (2005)), Herzog is invariably attracted to interesting material, but when it comes to actually making a film of it, it’s more often than not, a complete pile of rubbish.  The direction, in almost every respect, is amateurish, silly, and annoying.  And where The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans had at least the Nicolas Cage going ape-shit element, this film really only has its concepts and story, which are denuded of value throughout by the film itself.

Apparently, Herzog convinced Lynch that making movies on the cheap, telling stories that are interesting, no big budgets, was worth backing.  And, again, it’s not wrong at that level.  Perhaps Herzog should produce films himself, not direct them.  Like I said, he’s got an eye for interesting stories.

I’ve been meaning to revisit his earlier work, the stuff that put him on the map, the intense, strange and challenging films of the 1970’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) or Stroszek (1977).  Actually, I have his film Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970) in my rental queue at the moment.

I guess there is a good reason I waited for DVD for this one.  And I guess I should think more than twice before queuing up any more of his films in anticipation of really liking them.

The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans

The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans (2009) movie poster

(2009) dir. Werner Herzog
viewed: 12/20/09 at CineArts @ the Empire, SF, CA

Terrible film title.  In at least a dozen ways.

This film is a thing of strangeness, though perhaps the strangeness has more to do with marketing and production than anything.  I mean, is it or isn’t it a re-make of Abel Ferrara’s cult film Bad Lieutenant(1992) in which Harvey Keitel let it all hang out in the name of debauchery and hedonism flailing in the face of hardcore Catholicism.  The answer is only “sort of”.

Director Werner Herzog is quoted as saying that he’d never seen the “original” film and did not consider it a re-make.  The only comparative point is the story follows a drug-addicted police “lieutenant” as he spirals out of control, in bouts of sex and drugs and gambling, while in the midst of a serious criminal investigation.  It made me think that this could become its own minor franchise, in which a director takes the same theme, and gives an actor a chance to really go crazy.  And in this case, Nicolas Cage brings his “A” game.

Anyone that reads this regularly (nobody but me) would know that I have a thing for Nicolas Cage movies.  He’s someone who used to be quite great and then became a bit too much, a ham among hams, a king of hilarious over-acting and yet, someone who often is still the best thing about any of his films.  He’s a strangely comic and oddball film star, who is best most of the time, in the crappiest of movies.  And seriously, though he doesn’t go all Harvey Keitel in this film, he does let loose with his most inspiredly insane and fun-filled performance in years.  He’s got all kinds of wacky lines, pained expressions, unbalanced shoulders, and coo-coo outbursts.   He is the reason to see this film.  But you can certainly wait til DVD.

Herzog is a strange enough director, fascinated with crazy, inspired people, who has blossomed his career in the past 10 years, though his true heyday would have been the 1970’s.  And while I loved his documentary Grizzly Man (2005), the last feature film that I saw of his was more interesting for its story and actors than for its direction.  Rescue Dawn (2007) struck me as a film handled by a director who wasn’t really doing much interestingly.  And with The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans, it’s almost poor television quality production and acting outside of Nicolas Cage.  The small moments of true inspired strangeness, the scene in which Cage sees a break-dancing spirit, and tells the person’s killer to shoot him again because “his spirit is still dancing”, are few and far between.  And since Cage is so noted for his ad-libbing and input, I’d be more willing to offer the movie’s charms entirely to him.

We’ve got a very washed up Val Kilmer in a tiny role.  This dude used to be a major star.  Now he looks and acts like Kato Kaelin.  The rest of the police force is like a poor man’s group from any bad television detective show.  It’s pretty downright bad.  It’s almost like Herzog just doesn’t care or has no aesthetic concept.  Just hire a standard crew and let them shoot the film however.  He seems like a cool guy in real life, but, man, his fictional feature films are pretty poorly made.

Actually, the bottom line about this film is simply this: Nicolas Cage makes the film worth seeing.  Maybe it really has nothing to do with the Ferrara/Keitel Bad Lieutenant but could start a minor franchise.  This film is pure DVD fodder, not worth visiting a cinema.  And yet, Cage is hilarious, has flashes of pure manic comedy and this could well become its own little cult DVD experience just for Cage himself.

But still, an awful film title.

My Best Fiend

My Best Fiend (1999) movie poster

(1999) dir. Werner Herzog
viewed: 11/22/08

Werner Herzog is an interesting director.  He’s attracted to interesting material anyways.  How “good” a filmmaker he is, I am willing suggest, is debateable.  But his material often elevates his films beyond their structural and editorial flaws.

His best film that I’ve seen in recent years is Grizzly Man (2005), a documentary whose biggest flaws were Herzog’s self-insertion, narration, and his own take on the material.  Still, the material was fascinating.

In My Best Fiend, that issue is besides the point.  The film is a documentary of his own relationship with his acting muse Klaus Kinski, with whom he made six feature films, including Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972), Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979), and Fitzcarraldo (1982).  I saw Aguirre: The Wrath of God when I was in high school and at some point, I think I saw his version of Nosferatu, which Kinski probably needed only the bare minimum of make-up for, such a freakish face he had.

This film starts off with Kinski ranting on a microphone at an audience, some schtick that easily demonstrates his meglomania and mad, aggro approach to life.  When Herzog was working with Kinski in Peru for the Aguirre shoot, the conditions were pretty intense: swollen rivers, confused native extras, and an ambitious concept about a doomed search for gold and the fountain of youth.  The setting is there for drama.  And drama there was.  But only one snippet was actually caught on camera.  The rest is reminisced about by Herzog.

Herzog is a sincere and deep thinker.  He sees the humanity and humor in things, but he doesn’t really evoke them in his films the way that one would hope for.  One of the highlight lines of the film is when he admits that the native tribesmen who were working as extras offered to kill Kinski for him.  It’s a simple story amidst the run of the whole, but it’s the best laugh in the whole thing.

The guy was a weirdo, Kinski.  His talents are potentially debateable.  I haven’t seen much of his work in recent years, but he seems like a head-case.  Maybe we just needed to see him ranting more, raving more.  Herzog’s relationship with Kinski was interesting, but Herzog barely uncovers enough to make it so.