Inspiration – Werner Herzog

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Werner Herzog is a well known German director, producer, and scriptwriter who is considered to be one of the leaders of new German cinema. He is loved and respected by his peers and critics. In his career he has made numerous documentaries and films such as ‘One Death Row’ ‘Grizzly Man’ ‘Wings of hope’ and so fourth. I really enjoy his work because he tends to bring out the truth in his work. His range of characters are amazing and you tell he enjoys making what he creates. This is inspires me as a director, a writer and most of all a human being. Today I will be looking at one of his latest works ‘From one second to the next’ a documentary about road users who text and drive and the devastating effects this has on people’s lifes. They are numerous victims and family members of the victims who speak out about the effects the accident has had on their lives. The documentary is very emotional and powerful, it almost feels like the only people who actually exist in the world of the text are the victims and their families and the perpetrators. It is surreal.

The key aspects I liked:

  •  He used very still and long shots which ironic because the doc is about chaotic crashes, and still makes the text very calm and almost remorseful.
  • The use of music helps to set the calm and peaceful tempo. It also increases in volume when the conversation becomes more dramatic which is also good.
  • He makes the family of the victims relive each moment by taking them back to the place of the incident. This makes everything seem more real and it also makes it easier for the audience to understand what actually took place.
  • He also used long shots, into mid shots as the subjects go into more detail and emotion. This is a technique to make the audience feel closer to the action, it can also make some viewers uncomfortable as they may feel they are getting to up and personal.
  • The visual aesthetics of the text messages appearing on screen was also very useful.
  • The background for all the indoor interviews were still and peaceful which made them look alone, which added something to the text. The lighting was also very subtle.
  • The V/O and stills worked well together.
  • I also feel like the amount different interviews used were moderate, at times in other documentary directors like to bombard with numerous irrelevant accounts which don’t really add to the narrative.
  • I like the way it seemed I like certain seemed like they were talking to each other through cuts and edits.
  • The police men almost acted as our modern day narrators with pictures to help tell the narrative from a neutral point of view.

All in all I like the peacefulness and calm of this documentary. It has taught me that a doc about death doesn’t need to be loud and fast and can be just as effective if it is calm and well constructed. This doc didn’t consist of gimmicks, but it was transparent, still, and authentic. I will take a lot from this documentary and I aim to implement everything that is good to my own documentary.


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