In Focus: Little Dieter Needs to Fly
Lecture & Screening
Michael Fox is a film critic and journalist for KQED’s Arts and Culture blog. He is a member of the San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle and an inductee of SFFILM’s Essential SF. Fox has taught documentary classes in the OLLI programs at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University for some twenty years.
Dieter Dengler’s passionate desire to fly brought him from war-ravaged Germany to the United States in the 1950s. In 1966 Dengler’s US Navy bomber was downed by antiaircraft fire during a mission in Laos and he became a prisoner of war. Herzog films Dengler telling his astonishing story near his birthplace in Germany, at his home on Mount Tamalpais, and in Laos and Thailand, where, with the help of locals, Dengler reenacts the tortures he endured and explains how he survived. Despite Dengler’s rapid-fire, unsentimental narration, Herzog presents him as haunted, a fugitive from death, still mindful of lost comrades and the victims of his bombs.