Monday, September 14, 2009

Rogue Film School

In a book of interviews with him, the German filmmaker Werner Herzog once said that he'd like to open a film school that ignored all the traditional rules and styles of teaching and focused on the kind of real world experience that would help make students "good soldiers of cinema." Herzog being Herzog, he says these skills would include learning languages, lock picking, document forgery, and hand-to-hand combat. I'm still not sure if this website is legit or not, but if it is, then it seems Herzog has made this bizarre academy a reality. The famed director and professional eccentric is set to host a series of seminars on filmmaking under the title "Werner Herzog's Rogue Film School." The seminars will teach a lucky group of students Herzog's personal philosophy of self reliance and the pursuit of "the ecstasy of truth." According to the website, for $1450 you too can learn such life changing lessons as the virtue of traveling on foot and "the exhilaration of being shot at unsuccessfully." Applicants need no professional or scholastic credentials, just a ten-line statement of intent and a short film sample.

A lot of people have in the past accused Herzog of veering dangerously close to becoming a parody of himself, and it's a safe bet that this will do little to calm the criticism. I am a hopeless fan of the guy (he could start a cult and I'd want to join), but I still think this is a pretty fun idea. I have the feeling he's probably a natural (if not hopelessly cryptic) teacher. The $1450 entry fee is a bit disturbing, but I still doubt he'll have trouble finding enough applicants. Either way, if you ask me it's been too long since he's done something off the wall crazy.

Check out the website for more great one-liners like this one, my personal favorite: "Censorship will be enforced. There will be no talk of shamans, of yoga classes, nutritional values, herbal teas, discovering your Boundaries, and Inner Growth."

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