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Werner Herzog: 'I'm fascinated by trash TV. The poet must not avert his eyes'

At 77 and holed up in lockdown, the veteran director and latterday actor shows no signs of slowing down or accepting any limitations The digital world, what a fabulous place, Werner Herzog declares from his home in Los Angeles. Fraught with danger. Filled with possibility. It is thanks to digital that he can stream his films to audiences in Africa and Asia, despite the fact that the theatres are closed. It is thanks to digital that he can receive an email from a student in Missoula, Montana and respond to her question in less than a minute. It is thanks to digital that we are able to converse over Skype, peering into each other’s houses from a 5,000-mile distance. “So this is wonderful,” he cries. “Wonderful, wonderful!” Then the connection cuts out and I have to dial his number again. We were meant to meet in person , but the pandemic intervened. As a director, Herzog goes about life like a pith-helmeted explorer – dragging his camera to the mouth of volcanoes, hauling a steamship up a Peruvian mountain. But he is 77 and slap-bang in the Covid-19 danger zone, and accepts that now is the time to sit tight, wait it out. The lion in winter. Napoleon stuck on Elba. I am picturing him bouncing off the walls or staring into the abyss, but he insists he’s doing fine, staying positive. “I’m constantly being made fun of as this terrible doom-sayer. The dour German. But this is not the whole story,” he says. Herzog contains multitudes. He suspects that most people do. Continue reading...

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