Director Werner Herzog recently attended a Bernie Sanders campaign event that reportedly preceded his massive rally in Los Angeles. Although Herzog was joined by other well-known figures like public intellectual Cornel West, actor Tim Robbins, singer Anderson Paak, musician Kim Gordon, and actor Danny Devito, the 77-year-old German screenwriter’s presence appeared to create the most surprise on social media.
“Was not expecting ‘Werner Herzog attends a Bernie Sanders rally’ to be part of today’s news,” one user wrote.
“Possibly the most pessimistic human in human history, finding hope in the possibility of a Sander’s Presidency,” wrote another.
A third commenter had similar thoughts but dug even deeper.
“Werner Herzog at a Bernie event is moving because it means a person who has spent 50+ years trying to convey the absurd uncaring indifference of the universe to our suffering and anguish… believes in our capacity to improve things for the better, for each other. That rules,” they wrote, before touching on another possibility.
“Either that or he’s making a doc about how we can’t and I’m not ready for that.”
Writing for Taste of Cinema, Fedor Tot noted that Herzog’s films have many overlapping themes, one of which is obsessive, Nietzschean protagonists. The article points to Nicholas Cage’s character in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, who disregards the traditional notions of good and evil and spends the movie abusing those around him while killing and using narcotics. Despite this lack of morality, Cage’s character somehow succeeds, which Tot believes highlights Herzog’s “cynical beliefs in the nature of man.”
Cornel West giving pregame remarks at #BernieInVenice to an audience including Werner Herzog, Tim Robbins, Anderson Paak, Kim Gordon and Danny Devito is the whole tweet ✊???? pic.twitter.com/KGo7egZ7yP— Medicare for All! (@WaywardWinifred) December 21, 2019
Herzog is also known for his films’ absurdist humor, which contrasts with their often dark and nihilistic nature. Using this combination, Herzog not only points out the brutal and chaotic reality of the world but also explores the many truths behind this chaos. The filmmaker has made many documentaries as well, including Into the Inferno, Grizzly Man, and Cave of Forgotten Dreams.
During an interview with The Daily Beast, Herzog suggested that he believes it’s not out of the question that the human species will go extinct. Despite this pessimism, he did not appear to be concerned by the current state of politics and the rise of Donald Trump, suggesting that people shouldn’t panic about it.
Despite his usual focus on the dark, Herzog recently appeared in Disney Plus’ The Mandalorian. Speaking on the series’ Baby Yoda, Herzog surprised some when he revealed that the puppet’s character brought him to tears, calling it “heartbreakingly beautiful,” IndieWire reported.