Infinite Horizons: The Films of Werner Herzog

November 9, 2023–February 28, 2024

A major retrospective of German filmmaker Werner Herzog, which launched in November 2023, continues through February 2024. Herzog’s great facility for storytelling and his fascination with eccentric characters, whose lives and endeavors he observes, allow him to illuminate the human condition in his narrative and nonfiction films. 

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  • Aguirre, the Wrath of God, © Werner Herzog Film / Deutsche Kinemathek

  • Fitzcarraldo, © Werner Herzog Film / Deutsche Kinemathek

  • Rescue Dawn

  • Heart of Glass

  • Stroszek, © Werner Herzog Film / Deutsche Kinemathek

  • Even Dwarfs Started Small

  • Upcoming
    Films
  • Past
    Films
  • Past
    Events

Past Films

  • In Focus: Into the Abyss

    • Wednesday, February 28 3:10 PM–6 PM
    Werner Herzog
    United States, United Kingdom, Germany, 2011

    Lecture & Screening

    Werner Herzog’s very first film concept centered on a prison. Decades later, he reflects on a triple murder in a small Texas town through interviews with two men convicted of the killings. As he so often has, Herzog “probes the contradictions of the human heart, in which nobility and savagery are so entwined as to be almost indistinguishable” (A. O. Scott, New York Times).

    Lecture by Michael Fox

  • Queen of the Desert

    • Saturday, February 24 4 PM
    Werner Herzog
    United States, 2015

    Nicole Kidman, James Franco, and Robert Pattinson star in Werner “Herzog’s feminist version of Lawrence of Arabia” (Independent), which follows the amazing journey of Gertrude Bell from English high society to archeologist and political specialist of the Arab world and advisor to Middle Eastern rulers.

  • In Focus: Grizzly Man

    • Wednesday, February 21 3:10 PM–6 PM
    Werner Herzog
    United States, 2005

    Lecture & Screening

    The film that “turned [Werner] Herzog’s distinctive Bavarian accent into a pop culture phenomenon” (IndieWire), Grizzly Man investigates the life and death of Timothy Treadwell, who lived with—and was killed by—bears. Herzog used and mused over Treadwell’s video footage for this memorable essay on nature, both human and wild.

    Lecture by Michael Fox

  • Rescue Dawn

    • Sunday, February 18 4:30 PM
    Werner Herzog
    United States, 2006

    This big-budget Hollywood retelling of Werner Herzog’s documentary Little Dieter Needs to Fly stars Christian Bale as a German immigrant–turned–fighter pilot who overcomes torture and starvation as a POW in Laos during the Vietnam War. “Less so Herzog selling out, than Hollywood buying in” (New Yorker).

  • In Focus: The Fire Within: A Requiem for Katia and Maurice Krafft

    • Wednesday, February 14 3:10 PM–6 PM
    Werner Herzog
    France, United Kingdom, United States, 2022

    Lecture & Screening

    Werner Herzog's “requiem” for another pair who followed their passions: the globe-trotting husband and wife volcanologists Katia and Maurice Krafft, who filmed hundreds of hours of astonishing footage of volcanoes. “This is a radical filmmaker acknowledging two kindred spirits. . . . Solemn, sparse, and hypnotic” (Film Stage).

    Lecture by Michael Fox

  • Little Dieter Needs to Fly

    • Sunday, February 11 5 PM
    Werner Herzog
    Germany, United Kingdom, France, 1997

    Werner Herzog accompanies a Vietnam War POW back to the jungles of Laos to relive his imprisonment and torture in this award-winning documentary.

  • In Focus: Little Dieter Needs to Fly

    • Wednesday, February 7 3:10 PM–6 PM
    Werner Herzog
    Germany, United Kingdom, France, 1997

    Werner Herzog accompanies a Vietnam War POW back to the jungles of Laos to relive his imprisonment and torture in this award-winning documentary.

    Lecture by Michael Fox

  • Encounters at the End of the World

    • Friday, February 2 7 PM
    Werner Herzog
    United States, 2007

    A voyage to the end of the world—Antarctica—to discover the ecstatic realities of those who have chosen to live amidst nature’s awe-inspiring vastness. “A portrait of people in search of the sublime” (Cinema Scope).

  • In Focus: Land of Silence and Darkness

    • Wednesday, January 31 3:10 PM–6 PM
    Werner Herzog
    West Germany, 1971

    Lecture & Screening

    Werner Herzog’s 1971 documentary on the world of those who are both deaf and blind defies expectations; neither morbidly depressing nor heartwarmingly uplifting, it is “so intense and abstract that at times it reaches great lyrical heights” (New Yorker Films).

    Lecture by Michael Fox

  • Aguirre, the Wrath of God

    • Sunday, January 28 1 PM
    Werner Herzog
    West Germany, 1972

    Stunningly photographed in hazardous locations in Peru, Aguirre, the Wrath of God takes the viewer on a mad voyage as frightening and entertaining as one of Edgar Allan Poe’s maelstrom-bent epics of demented discovery. Featuring a seething, controlled performance from Klaus Kinski, who delivers an unforgettable portrait of madness and power.

  • In Focus: Encounters at the End of the World

    • Wednesday, January 24 3:10 PM–6 PM
    Werner Herzog
    United States, 2007

    A voyage to the end of the world—Antarctica—to discover the ecstatic realities of those who have chosen to live amidst nature’s awe-inspiring vastness. “A portrait of people in search of the sublime” (Cinema Scope).

    Lecture by Michael Fox

  • Stroszek

    • Saturday, January 20 7 PM
    Werner Herzog
    West Germany, 1977

    A lyrical, melancholy, bitterly funny tale of three oddly assorted Berlin misfits who follow the American Dream to Railroad Flats, Wisconsin, a bleak dead end of flat farmlands, TV dinners, CB radio, and mobile homes.

  • Heart of Glass

    • Wednesday, January 17 7 PM
    Werner Herzog
    West Germany, 1976

    Werner Herzog memorably hypnotized nearly his entire cast for this haunting tale of nineteenth-century German townsfolk fallen into despair after forgetting how to make their famed glassworks. “It should be approached like a piece of music, in which we comprehend everything in terms of mood and aura” (Roger Ebert).

  • Even Dwarfs Started Small

    • Saturday, January 13 4 PM
    Werner Herzog
    West Germany, 1970

    Anarchy ensues when a group of institutionalized dwarfs takes over their asylum in Werner Herzog’s notorious second feature, an unholy combination of 1960s revolutionary attitude, Tod Browning’s Freaks, and the surrealist shivers of Luis Buñuel. “One of the most genuinely disturbing films I have ever seen” (Richard Roud, The Guardian).

  • Cobra Verde

    • Wednesday, December 20 7 PM
    Werner Herzog
    West Germany, 1987

    Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski’s final collaboration continues their exploration of colonial madness in Indigenous worlds, with Kinski starring as a Brazilian outlaw turned African slave trader in Dahomey. Haunted with an “intoxicated, intoxicating sense of spectacle” (New York Times).

  • Fitzcarraldo

    • Friday, December 15 7 PM
    Werner Herzog
    West Germany, Peru, 1982

    “In a film of stunning spectacle and furious struggle, boat and task become centerpieces for two tales of obsession. Every bit as driven as Fitzcarraldo’s efforts to move the craft upward, Mr. Herzog’s determination to perform the feat in actuality inspired Les Blank’s documentary Burden of Dreams, also released in 1982, about the making of the film” (Peter M. Nichols, New York Times).

  • My Best Fiend

    • Sunday, December 10 2 PM
    Werner Herzog
    Germany, United Kingdom, 1999

    The lines between madness and artistry, and confrontation and creation, are explored through Werner Herzog’s look at his fiery collaborations with frequent lead, and frequent tormenter, Klaus Kinski. Together they created masterpieces, while nearly killing one another.

  • Nosferatu the Vampyre

    • Saturday, December 9 7 PM
    Werner Herzog
    West Germany, United States, 1979

    Werner Herzog’s reworking of the F. W. Murnau silent film showcases a ghoulish Klaus Kinski as das Vampyre, spreading death and disease in a small German town with only pretty bride Isabelle Adjani to stop him. “Opulently beautiful” (The Nation).

  • Woyzeck

    • Wednesday, December 6 7 PM
    Werner Herzog
    West Germany, 1979

    An ordinary German barber-turned-soldier (Klaus Kinski) puts up with all manner of slights and insults until, finally, he cracks in Werner Herzog’s adaptation of the acclaimed absurdist, anti-militarist play. “Kinski is a riveting screen presence who threatens to burst beyond the medium” (New York Times).

  • Aguirre, the Wrath of God

    • Saturday, December 2 7 PM
    Werner Herzog
    West Germany, 1972

    Stunningly photographed in hazardous locations in Peru, Aguirre, the Wrath of God takes the viewer on a mad voyage as frightening and entertaining as one of Edgar Allan Poe’s maelstrom-bent epics of demented discovery. Featuring a seething, controlled performance from Klaus Kinski, who delivers an unforgettable portrait of madness and power.

  • Burden of Dreams

    • Saturday, November 25 4 PM
    Les Blank, Maureen Gosling
    United States, 1982

    Acclaimed documentary filmmaker and longtime collaborator with Les Blank, Maureen Gosling was nominated for Best Editing for Burden of Dreams by the American Cinema Editors. Gosling joins us for the presentation of a new digital restoration of this celebrated film.

    Maureen Gosling in Person

  • Fitzcarraldo

    • Friday, November 24 3 PM
    Werner Herzog
    West Germany, Peru, 1982

    “In a film of stunning spectacle and furious struggle, boat and task become centerpieces for two tales of obsession. Every bit as driven as Fitzcarraldo’s efforts to move the craft upward, Mr. Herzog’s determination to perform the feat in actuality inspired Les Blank’s documentary Burden of Dreams, also released in 1982, about the making of the film” (Peter M. Nichols, New York Times).

  • Lessons of Darkness

    • Sunday, November 12 1:30 PM
    Werner Herzog
    Germany, France, United Kingdom, 1992

    Werner Herzog’s gripping documentary shows the disaster of the Kuwait oil fields in flames. In contrast to most documentaries—especially ones tackling the destruction of the planet—there’s minimal commentary and no talking heads. “An evocation of hell on earth . . . with an epic, elegiac musical backdrop” (Time Out).

    Werner Herzog in Person

  • Family Romance, LLC

    • Sunday, November 12 4 PM
    Werner Herzog
    United States, 2019

    Werner Herzog’s latest narrative focuses on Japan’s bizarre “rent-a-family” business, a professional stand-in service that provides clients with actors who portray a range of roles, including friends, family members, or even coworkers.

    Werner Herzog in Person

  • The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

    • Saturday, November 11 1 PM
    Werner Herzog
    West Germany, 1974

    Werner Herzog’s unforgettable 1974 classic is based on a real historical incident of an adult foundling. Bruno S. gives a revelatory performance as Kaspar Hauser, a man who literally has no concept of society, no language, and no knowledge, but who finds civilization terrifyingly uncivilized.

    Werner Herzog in Person

  • The White Diamond

    • Saturday, November 11 4 PM
    Werner Herzog
    Germany, United Kingdom, 2004

    The White Diamond is a film about the daring adventure of exploring the rainforest canopy with a novel flying device. Airship engineer Dr. Graham Dorrington embarks on a trip to the giant Kaieteur Falls in the heart of Guyana, hoping to fly his helium-filled invention above the treetops.

    Werner Herzog in Person

  • Fata Morgana

    • Friday, November 10 3:30 PM
    Werner Herzog
    West Germany, 1971

    This film about the creation and transformation of things is between documentary and feature, utopia and reality, beauty and decay. Hallucinatory images of African deserts and dunes are combined with music by Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen; Lotte H. Eisner reads the Guatemalan creation myth.

    Werner Herzog in Person

  • Mosse Lecture: Werner Herzog

    • Friday, November 10 1 PM

    The author of more than a dozen books of prose, Werner Herzog reads from the long-awaited Every Man for Himself and God Against All: A Memoir and engages in conversation with the audience.

    Werner Herzog and Deniz Göktürk in Conversation

  • Aguirre, the Wrath of God

    • Friday, November 10 7 PM
    Werner Herzog
    West Germany, 1972

    Stunningly photographed in hazardous locations in Peru, Aguirre, the Wrath of God takes the viewer on a mad voyage as frightening and entertaining as one of Edgar Allan Poe’s maelstrom-bent epics of demented discovery. Featuring a seething, controlled performance from Klaus Kinski, who delivers an unforgettable portrait of madness and power.

    Werner Herzog in Person

  • Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

    • Thursday, November 9 7:30 PM
    Werner Herzog
    United States, 2009

    Bad Lieutenant benefits from Werner Herzog’s fearless direction and a delightfully unhinged Nicolas Cage, who brings a manic energy and humor to his performance. It is Herzog’s documentarian’s eye that brings an extra depth to the film. “He constantly frames the devastated New Orleans with heartbreaking poverty and ruin in the foreground and the gleaming metal towers of affluence in the background” (Toronto International Film Festival).

    Werner Herzog in Person

  • Signs of Life

    • Thursday, November 9 4:30 PM
    Werner Herzog
    West Germany, 1968

    Werner Herzog’s breakthrough film garnered a special jury award at the Berlinale and this appraisal at the New York Film Festival: “A strange, intense work . . . influenced by Borges and Kafka. The hypnotic probing of cruelty, indifference, and unspoken horrors becomes a metaphysical comment on man and his ideologies.”

    Werner Herzog in Person