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Films of Werner Herzog


Werner Herzog's singular, uncompromising career in filmmaking spans over four decades and has included feature films, documentaries, and even two works (Little Dieter Needs to Fly and Rescue Dawnthat offer, respectively, a nonfiction and fictional retelling of the same event.

Regardless of genre, each of his films seems preoccupied with the place of humans within the natural world and the instability of both fiction and reality. Herzog strives for a concept he has termed "ecstatic truth," which is "mysterious and elusive, and can be reached only through fabrication and imagination and sylization." (Herzog on Herzog, p. 301)

This series specifically focuses on five early, fictional works from the 1970s, including well-known collaborations with actors Klaus Kinski (Aguirre, The Wrath of God) and Bruno S. (The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, Stroszek) as well as two of the director's most experimental works, the incomparable Even Dwarfs Started Small and Heart of Glass (in which he uses hypnotism on the actors to eerie effect.)

Please join us Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. in the first floor Corner Room of Mid-Manhattan Library starting on February 29, 2012 for the Films of Werner Herzog.

Download official flier: B&W | Color

February 29, 2012 at 7 p.m.
Aguirre, The Wrath of God (1972, 93 min)

"Quiet and atmospheric, creepy and grisly, drenched in both equatorial sunshine and scarlet blood—the film is startlingly powerful as it subtly examines themes of imperialism, corporate greed and ultimately personal madness."
— Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

March 7, 2012 at 7 p.m.
Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970, 96 min)

"Truly one of the most bizarre and hilariously disturbing freakshows ever executed by a major director, Even Dwarfs Started Small is sure to impress and perplex even the most ardent admirers of German auteur Werner Herzog."
— Wade Major, Boxoffice Magazine

March 14, 2012 at 7 p.m.
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974, 110 min)

"In Herzog the line between fact and fiction is a shifting one. He cares not for accuracy but for effect, for a transcendent ecstasy. Kaspar Hauser tells its story not as a narrative about its hero, but as a mosaic of striking behavior and images..."
— Roger Ebert,

March 21, 2012 at 7 p.m.
Heart of Glass (1974, 94 min)

"...a dreamlike atmosphere of vision, of hallucination, of prophecy, of going through life as if sleepwalking through it, of materialism and of collective madness...If you're in the mood for a one-of-a-kind film that is haunting but obscure, that demands intellectual analysis, then this Herzog film should give the thinking viewer much to chew on..."
— Dennis Schwartz, Ozus’ World Movie Review

March 28, 2012 at 7 p.m.
Stroszek (1977, 116 min)

"Constantly working against Mr. Herzog's very cool view of the human condition is not only the humor...but also the physical beauty of the landscapes, the cityscapes and the squalid interiors. This visual lyricism, which at first seems at odds with the subject, eventually becomes a further celebration of Stroszek's survival."
— Vincent Canby, New York Times

Coming Next: Films of Krzsyztof Kieslowski in April/May 2012.


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.


Aguirre, Wrath of God -- one of my favorite films and a favorite filmmaker of mine.


Agreed, it's a great one! We're very excited to be kicking off the series with it.

werner herzog

Fantastic. STROSZEK is one of all-time greats. An early LIVE @ NYPL with Werner Herzog event years ago was brilliant. Can't wait for Feb 29 event and this film series. Thank you NYPL.

Stroszek and Live from the NYPL event

Yes, Stroszek is definitely one of my personal favorites. For anyone interested, tickets are still available for the LIVE from the NYPL event "Death Row & Other Journeys" on 2/29 featuring Werner Herzog in conversation with Paul Holdengräber: Two great Herzog events in one night!

My Best Fiend, the

My Best Fiend, the documentary about Herzog's tempestuous relationship with actor Klaus Kinski, is as tragi-comic as most of Herzog's dramatizations...

My Best Fiend

I haven't seen that documentary, but I've always been curious about it. Do you like it better than Burden of Dreams? For anyone else interested, it looks like the Performing Arts Library has several copies of My Best Fiend:

Burden of Dreams

The films have different tones. Burden of Dreams places the perils of working in the Amazon at the forefront, whereas the interpersonal shenanigans of Herzog/Kinski are the focus of My best Fiend.

Burden of Dreams

Sounds fun! I'll have to check it out.

Dear NYPL, do we need to RSVP

Dear NYPL, do we need to RSVP for this? Is this a free event? THANKS!!

No RSVP Required

Yes, all of the screenings are FREE and there is no RSVP required. Doors generally open around 6:30 p.m. and seating is first come, first served. Hope to see you there!

Why are these playing on

Why are these playing on Wednesdays at such an inaccesible time?

Other Viewing Options

Thanks for your comment. If you are unable to make the times listed above, all of the films are also available through the NYPL catalog: The Mid-Manhattan Library also hosts movies on Sundays at 2 p.m. You can visit our event listings for titles and more information at:

Screening format

Are these being screened on 16mm from the library collection?

Re: Screening format

Thanks for commenting. All films in this series will be screened on projected DVD.

I second that above comment:

I second that above comment: what format are these being shown in?

Re: Screening format

Thanks for commenting. All films in this series will be screened on projected DVD.


The Heart of a Chicken: Notes on Werner Herzog

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