Sunday, February 07, 2010

Snowpocalypse II

For the second time this year, DC got clobbered with double-digit snowfalls, again basically shutting down the city. This storm apparently set records across the area and was 4th on the all-time snowfall list at National Airport. It was pretty exciting for a California boy.

The fun thing about these storms is the sense of shared catastrophe. People are just friendlier both before and after the big snow, more likely to say hi on the street, more likely to strike up a conversation, more helpful. Plus, you've got your giant flashmob snowball fights and funny websites, too. I think it's a gentle reminder that we're not that far removed from the state of nature and that we do actually rely on other people.

When the storm passed yesterday there was an hour of blue skies before the sunset and our street was bathed in a beautiful evening glow - even caught a glimpse of a cardinal.

Apart from shoveling the walk and doing the dishes, I passed part of the time by watching Werner Herzog's infamous 1982 film Fitzcarraldo--the story of a would-be rubber baron trying to move a steamship over a mountain as part of a scheme to build an opera house in the middle of the amazon. (It makes a little more sense in context.)

The scenes of madman Klaus Kinski steaming deep into the rainforest blasting Caruso out of his gramophone were an impressive contrast to the quiet, white blanket coming down outside the windows. Anyway, it's a good movie, a fascinating addition to the genre of crazy white people who go to the jungle and do crazy things -- and the crazy filmmakers who risk life and limb to make crazy movies about them (see also, Apocalypse Now).


Doug Rudd said...

Have you seen Burden of Dreams? It shows how autobiographical all of Herzog's films are. He seeks out fantastic and obsessive characters that mirror his own personality.

My Friend Klaus Kinski is also worth seeing to understand some of the behind-the-scenes tension.

t said...

Hey Doug - I haven't seen BoD, but it sounds interesting. I did listen to the commentary track and got a sense of how obsessive Herzog is and how bizarre the film production must have been. It's kind of an extreme form of method filmmaking, I guess.

I thought it was interesting that both Fitzcarraldo and Apocalypse Now have associated documentaries (Hearts of Darkness) describing how crazy and troubled the film productions were, in addition to a lot of thematic and stylistic similarities.

Are there any other Herzog films you would recommend? I hear Aguirre: Wrath of God is pretty cool.

Doug Rudd said...

Aguierre is fantastic, but very dark. I really liked both Encounters at the End of the World and The White Diamond which are more upbeat and comedic. Little Dieter Needs to Fly is another I'd recommend.

Also, I screwed up the title in my previous post, it's My Best Fiend Klaus Kinski, which gives you a better idea of their partnership.

t said...

I did enjoy Encounters at the End of the World. I'll have to check out the others at some point.

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