The films of infamous eccentric German director Werner Herzog can be watched via a variety of sources. But a new streaming retrospective will collect 16 of them in one convenient place. Metrograph’s online, on-demand series Whole Lotta Herzog, running now through August 4, will stream several Herzog films at a time for members. Here are a few highlights to watch out for.
Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
This movie is an interesting palimpsest, an adaptation of an adaptation. It’s not quite based on Dracula, instead putting its own spin on 1922’s Nosferatu, a thinly veiled take on the novel that tried to avoid copyright trouble by changing some names. Herzog’s spin emphasizes the classic tale as a morbid case of romantic obsession, with Count Dracula (his frequent, contentious collaborator Klaus Kinski) doggedly pursuing Lucy Harker (Isabelle Adjani).
Fata Morgana (1971)
Initially ill-received, early work from Herzog later became a hit with the psychedelic-loving ’70s cinephile crowd. It consists solely of long tracking shots of various African desert landscapes, searching out naturally occurring optical illusions. Quoting from Mayan mythology and scored with classical musical, Leonard Cohen, and British blues rock alike, the movie presents these mirages as imagery of an alien planet.
Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1997)
In a highly unusual case of film and performance as a therapeutic device, Herzog has Vietnam War veteran Dieter Dengler recount his experience as a prisoner of war by acting the events out for cameras. Through this recital of the past, the documentary both acts as a character study of Dengler and implicitly questions the reliability of memory.