Werner Herzog named president of 2010 Berlin jury

Posted by · 7:35 am · November 19th, 2009

Werner HerzogAfter premiering two films at September’s Venice fest, perhaps the most surprising thing about Werner Herzog heading the jury at February’s Berlin Film Festival is that he won’t be inflicting another film upon the competition.

I kid, I kid. Herzog, the first German jury president since Roland Emmerich in 2005, is inarguably deserving of the position, and should bring a welcome streak of eccentricity to the jury’s deliberations. The press release declares him “one of the most significant personalities of New German Cinema,” which is risking understatement.

Interestingly, the 67 year-old auteur has only twice competed at the Berlinale himself, with his 1968 debut “Signs of Life” (for which he won a special award) and 1979’s “Nosferatu.”

You may remember that this year’s Berlin jury was presided over by Tilda Swinton, with Peruvian film “The Milk of Sorrow” (currently in the hunt for the foreign-language Oscar) taking the Golden Bear. The festival’s 2010 edition will run from the February 11 to 21 — I will hopefully be in attendance.

Meanwhile, Herzog’s demented “The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” opens Stateside tomorrow, and continues to win critical favor — its latest high-profile champion is Roger Ebert. I’d say something about the emperor having no clothes, but I’ll save it for when the truly appalling “My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?” is released to inevitable fanfare.

→ 6 Comments Tags: , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

6 responses so far

  • 1 11-19-2009 at 8:01 am

    Chase K. said...

    “Nosferatu” is a dream. Love that film the more I think of it and the Wagner/ascent to the castle sequence is probably the best 5 minutes that he’s ever had.

  • 2 11-19-2009 at 8:07 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Can’t disagree there.

  • 3 11-19-2009 at 8:28 am

    david said...

    I’m currently reading Herzog’s new book: Conquest of the Useless. It’s a must read if your a fan of his work.

  • 4 11-19-2009 at 8:57 am

    aristo said...

    Is “Rabbit Hole” going to Berlin or is it scheduled to premiere at Sundance ? I guess the latter, does someone know anything about it ?

  • 5 11-19-2009 at 12:57 pm

    Maxim said...

    Here we go again, with “inarguably”. Well, I will argue. Herzog is a cinematic sadist responsible for some of the absolute worst film I’ve seen.

    Seriously, how many people here sat through Cobra Verde and its 8 something minutes of still shots of young topless native girls singing, among other things? More painful than Apocalypto and that film was remarkably shallow.

    There isn’t a more egotistical and self-indulgent director working than Herzog. Yes there are some indulgent filmmakers out there but with Herzog there is remarkably little to compensate for that.

    Eventually, I decided to stop watching his movies altogether because I simply get very little out of them and, often, the experience is too grueling. They are not artistic masterpieces and their eccentricities are just that. IMO, he was better in the 70s and his work was on a different level. Something happened since then, maybe it’s all an effect of his shoe eating habits?

    But then what can you expect from a man who calls D.W. Griffith the “Shakeaspeare of Cinema” (I appreciate the guy’s directorial skill but too actually worship him?).

    Sorry for the rant but the “inarguably” bit made me respond. Where’s that Emmerich dude again?

  • 6 11-19-2009 at 1:43 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Given that a film festival jury president should be an established industry figure who is a) well-regarded, b) well-informed and c) has a genuine passion for the artform, then I would say, yes, Herzog is “inarguably” qualified for the position. I’m afraid he is all those things, whether you personally like his work or not.

    I didn’t say he was “inarguably” a great filmmaker, so I’m not sure what you’re getting so worked up about. (And why the Emmerich dig? I wouldn’t pick him to head a festival jury myself, even if Berlin did.)

    I’m glad to have readers as knowledgeable and passionate as you clearly are promoting debate and discussion on the site, Maxim. But may I politely request that you tone down the belligerence slightly in your comments?