In the 1970s, director Werner Herzog helped energize West Germany's film renaissance with a brilliant variety of personal visions -- a condemnation of the Spanish conquistadors and imperialism in general (Aguirre, the Wrath of God); a semi-obscene parody of everyday life enacted by dwarfs (Even DwarfsStarted Small); and a chilling reinterpretation of the Count Dracula myth (Nosferatu, the Vampyre, with Klaus Kinski as the ghoul) that recalled F.W. Murnau's great silent version. He was known as an extremist and an obsessive. For Heart of Glass, he hypnotized his actors to approximate hallucinatory states of mind; on Fitzcarraldo, he honored a promise to his crew by leaping into a bed of thorns. Certainly, he was nothing if not a radical enfant terrible.
Herzog's films are not much seen in the U.S. these days, but the venerable International Film Series at the University of Colorado will screen the sixty-year-old director's latest, called Invincible, this Saturday and Sunday at 7 and 9:30 p.m. in Muenzinger Auditorium on the CU-Boulder campus.
Featuring a real-life strongman, Jouko Ahola, it's the story of a blacksmith in a tiny Polish village who's lured to the big city by a wily German theatrical agent. There he finds himself in the employ of an alleged psychic who dreams of becoming -- what else? -- Adolf Hitler's minister of the occult. Released in 2001, Invincibleattracted scant attention on this side of the Atlantic. For the Herzog faithful, here's a rare chance to see new work from the director of Fata Morgana, Stroszek, and Every Man for Himself and God Against All.