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I’m going to throw myself on a cactus

March 6, 2008 by jjosh

The Believer has a really cool article with Errol Morris (his new film is about Abu Ghraib!) and Werner Herzog interviewing each other. These guys are titans of doc, and they are so imaginative and smart, it’s a blast to read them (I found the article via). I really like this part: 

EM: I was talking with Ron Rosenbaum, a friend of mine, who had just finished a book on Shakespeare. We were talking about the meaning of meaninglessness. Is there such a thing? And I would say: yes. Werner’s work could be considered an extended essay on the meaning of meaninglessness.
WH: Thank you, yes. It feels good to hear that. [Laughter]

(also the illustration at the top of the article is by Maakies’ Tony Millionaire! Blog-chronicity!)

In the article, Herzog and Morris are talking like they’ve known each other for ages, because they have. From imdb:

Herzog once promised to eat his shoe if a young American film student went out and actually made the film he was always only talking about. The young student was Errol Morris , who met the challenge with his off-beat 1978 pet cemetery documentary Gates of Heaven. Herzog makes good on his promise in the short doc Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe.

Apparently after that, Morris sees Herzog’s move as grandstanding or something and it becomes this 30-year-long feud.

Herzog Eats His Shoe is one of those short films that I heard about in film class at college and sort of figured, well I’ll never get to see that because short docs never screen anywhere. But now thanks to the magic of google video, it’s available right here! It’s 20 minutes long, and you could watch it right now!

The film is really really good, and Herzog is incredibly inspiring. I love the bit in there where he’s talking about making the film "Even Dwarves Started Small":

"One little guy caught fire when we watered the plants with gasoline and so I extinguished him with my body, I threw myself on him, and when he was extinguished I told him ‘I’m going to throw myself on a cactus if you all survive.’"

So he did it and there’s still cactus needles sticking in his knee! Also there’s that great bit recently where Herzog got shot by an air rifle while doing an interview and said "it’s not a significant bullet." What a badass.

Do you think Herzog would like The Snow Of Truth?


  1. miss fidget says:

    Oh god, with those 2 it could be a painful thing or an amazing interview. Too biz to watch the 20 min. clip but had no idea of Herzog’s self harming danger boy past. HA, a direct line between Johnny Knoxville and Werner Herzog!

  2. jjosh says:

    I know, the internet is not a 20 minute kind of place…I should point out that I think you can download it from google video in ipod format so you could watch it there too…and yes the interview is amazing, and yes I would like to see a fight between Herzog and Knoxville.

    I think Herzog would destroy Knoxville.

  3. Clematislq says:

    omg.. good work, guy

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