Werner Herzog Goes For A Walk

For me, the story that sums up Herzog’s unique world-view concerns the great German Jewish film critic Lotte Eisner, a concentration camp survivor and an early champion of his work. Eisner had lived in Paris since the war, having fled to France to escape the Nazis. In November 1974 Herzog was in Munich when he heard that she was dying. ‘German cinema could not do without her now,’ he declared. ‘I set off on the most direct route to Paris, in full faith, believing that she would stay alive if I came on foot.’ For three weeks he walked through rain and snow, without a proper map or winter clothing, trekking across muddy fields, following a straight line on his compass. ‘It was like a pilgrimage,’ he says. ‘I would not allow her to die.’ When he arrived at her bedside, Eisner was on the mend. ‘Open the window,’ he told her. ‘From these last days onward I can fly.’

from a review of The Werner Herzog Collection (BFI) in The Spectator

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