Archive for July 1st, 2010

Step By Step

Humans are not made to sit at computer terminals or travel by aeroplane; destiny intended something different for us. For too long now we have been estranged from the essential, which is the nomadic life: travelling on foot. In today’s society—though it would be ridiculous to advocate travelling on foot for everyone to every possible destination—I personally would rather do the existentially essential things in my life on foot. If you live in England and your girlfriend is in Sicily, and it is clear that you want to marry her, then you should walk to Sicily to propose. For these things travel by car or aeroplane is not the right thing. When you come on foot, you come with a different intensity.

In 1974 we German filmmakers were still fragile, and when a friend told me [cinema historian] Lotte [Eisner] had suffered a massive stroke and I should get on the next plane to Paris, I made the decision not to fly. It was not the right thing to do, and because I just could not accept that she might die, I walked from Munich to her apartment in Paris. I put on a shirt, grabbed a bundle of clothes, a map and a compass, and set off in a straight line, sleeping under bridges, in farms and abandoned houses. I made only one detour to the town of Troyes because I wanted to walk into the cathedral there. I walked against her death, knowing that if I walked on foot she would be alive when I got there. And that is just what happened. Lotte lived until the age of ninety or thereabouts.

—Werner Herzog, Herzog on Herzog


When I Worked

July 2010
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