Tag Archives: werner herzog

MIFF 2019: Meeting Gorbachev (2018)

Directors: Werner Herzog & Andre Singer

Featuring: Mikhail Gorbachev, Yuri Andropov, James Baker, Leonid Brezhnev, Konstantin Chernenko, Raisa Maximovna Gorbacheva, Miklos Nemeth, Vladimir Putin, Ronald Reagan, Horst Teltschik, Margaret Thatcher, Lech Walesa, Boris Yeltsin

Trailer

I always like to see a Werner Herzog documentary at the festival and thought his last one about the internet was not really up to his standard. Even though it is about Gorbechev, it is clear who is in charge as Werner talks of being “summoned” by the subject to complete the interviews required for the documentary also the mentions of how Gorbechev has clearly done his research into the film maker and knows what sort of questions he will ask.

The very first question Werner asks is assuming that the first German Gorbechev met would have wanted to kill him. Gorbechev flips the script by saying his neighbours on his family’s farm were German. Werner Herzog insists he is not Mikhail Gorbachev’s “buddy” even though they use first names in the film.

Was a bit much Werner Herzog calling Gorbechev’s home town “God forsaken” but you would expect that sort of thing by now.

As they describe in the documentary the USSR was crumbling by the time Gorbechev finally came to power and the succession of identical funerals for former leaders shows this but I am not sure it was necessary to show all three.

There are a lot of clips of former leaders shown from the time period including Margaret Thatcher speaking on nuclear weapons. Gorbechev disagrees with her views and says she goes too far. Was a comment from the audience “Margaret Thatcher is the perfect villain in everything I have seen her in.”

Interestingly there is a sequence from another documentary, Gorbachev. After Empire released in 2001 by Vitaly Mansky. I remember watching this on SBS TV in Australia specifically his old blind auntie crying and saying “My Misha!”

The documentary tells the story Mikhail Gorbachev and how he transformed himself from a simple farm boy to the leader of one of the largest nations on earth and was loved by the people as he would go out onto the street to talk to them. Would be hard to imagine Putin doing that these days.

You can see the bandage on Gorbechev’s hand in some scenes as he had to be delivered from the hospital as he really wanted to finish the film.

An excellent documentary and hopefully it will get a wider release after it finishes the festival circuit.

Bonus Q&A with Werner Herzog at TIFF

In conversation with Werner Herzog at TIFF

Gorbachev. After Empire (2001) | Vitaly Mansky

MIFF 2016: Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World (2016)

Director: Werner Herzog
Featuring: Kevin Mitnick, Elon Musk, Lawrence Krauss, Lucianne Walkowicz


“Helloooo, my name is Werner Herzog”

An interesting, but scattershot documentary that is frustrating in that it covers a lot of ground across topics that are very deep like skipping a stone across the surface of a lake and barely covers any of them.

Topics such as artificial intelligence, game theory, interplanetary travel and others get the same time covered as quackery such as people being “allergic” to Wi-Fi.

It almost becomes a parody of a Werner Herzog as they have at least one quip from the director in each segment that the audience laughed at due to the director’s Teutonic dryness. Even Kevin Mitnick got a laugh after the director described him as a “Demigod of hacking” and then he appeared as a normal man.

The story of the family who were a victim of trolls was strange with the baked goods on the table and the woman claiming that an abstract concept was the manifestation of evil. People can do evil things a concept is not evil unless you apply it to do bad things.

The online gaming segment could have been a documentary of its own, I did like Tom running across the rope bridge and the director saying “no need for a further introduction, that was perfect” also Werner wanting to talk to Chloe about her online characters to which she went “MAH TRIGGERS!” and refused. He did seem genuinely disappointed of not getting to discuss dark elves.

I am not really the audience for this as I know a lot about the internet having been on it for 20 years and have studied aspects of it in detail. As a popular surface-level documentary on the internet this show do fine. It does ignore that the main purpose of the internet was to connect people and technology was only part of this.