BAM presents Werner Herzog in conversation with Paul Holdengräber

August 21, 2014 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Legendary filmmaker, screenwriter, actor, author and opera director Werner Herzog will take the stage at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) on Thursday, Sept. 4 at 8 p.m. for a wide-ranging discussion with the New York Public Library’s director of public programs Paul Holdengräber at the Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Ave.)

Werner Herzog was born in Munich in 1942. He grew up in a remote mountain village in Bavaria and studied History and German Literature in Munich and Pittsburgh. Herzog made his first film in 1961 at the age of 19. Since then he has produced, written and directed more than sixty feature and documentary films, such as “Aguirre, the Wrath of God” (1972), “Nosferatu” (1978), “Fitzcarraldo” (1982), “Lessons of Darkness” (1992), “Little Dieter Needs to Fly” (1997),  “My Best Fiend” (1999), “Invincible (2000),” “Grizzly Man” (2005), “Encounters at the End of the World” (2007) and “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” (2011). Herzog has published more than a dozen books of prose and has directed as many operas. He lives in Munich and Los Angeles.

Paul Holdengräber, founder and director of LIVE from the New York Public Library, is a seasoned interviewer, known for encouraging his guests to step outside their areas of specialization and into wider-reaching discussions. His programs have become known worldwide for providing a forum in which audiences can engage with some of the world’s most influential public figures. Past talks at BAM include David Lynch, in a rare public appearance in April, and Werner Herzog, as part of a two-day BAMcinématek series in March 2012.

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Coinciding with the talk, BAMcinématek will be screening the following films as part of a one-week Les Blank retrospective.


“Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe,” (1980), 22min

Directed by Les Blank

The title says it all, as the eccentric German filmmaker does penance for losing a bet to director Errol Morris, while expounding on his art-making philosophy.

Friday, Sept. 5 at 4 and 8 p.m.


“Burden of Dreams,” (1982), 94min

Directed by Les Blank

“I live my life, or I end my life with this project.” So proclaims visionary filmmaker Werner Herzog as he contends with cast changes, warring Indian tribes, inclement weather, half-crazy leading man Klaus Kinski and his own hubris as he attempts to film his magnum opus, “Fitzcarraldo,” in the South American jungle. “Burden of Dreams”—called “one of the most remarkable documentaries ever made about the making of a movie” by Roger Ebert—is a firsthand testament to the very fine line between genius and madness.

Saturday, Sept. 6 at 2, 4:15 and 9:45 p.m.


“Fitzcarraldo,” (1982), 158min

Directed by Werner Herzog, with Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale and José Lewgoy.

Herzog’s tale of megalomaniac obsession concerns a Caruso-loving Irish adventurer (Kinski) on a quest to build an opera house in the Peruvian rainforest and transport a steamship over a mountain—as ambitiously deranged an undertaking as Herzog’s own notoriously fanatical filming practices, captured in Blank’s “making of” documentary “Burden of Dreams.”

Saturday, Sept. 6 at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $25, $35 and $50. To purchase tickets, call BAM Ticket Services at 718.636.4100, or visit

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