Jim Shepard on Herzog’s Aguirre

The next event in the Writers-on-Film series will feature  JIM SHEPARD on April 11. Jim's new book  YOU THINK THAT'S BAD will be published on March 22, (less than a week before Jim joins us in Sirenland).  When asked to compare the book and the film, Jim wrote: "You Think That's Bad shares many obsessive preoccupations with AGUIRRE, and with Werner Herzog's aesthetic project in general." More recently, Jim told Bomb Magazine:

I grew up on movies, like many, if not most, of my generation, and so of course they’ve affected the way my imagination works. Various reviewers have noted that my stuff tends toward the visual and the visceral, for example. And though I have a lot of voice-driven stories, I wouldn’t say that my fiction tends toward the ruminative.

Jim wrote a fascinating essay on Aguirre in The Believer, back in September 2004 in which he contrasts Herzog's film with the Oscar-winning epic, Lawrence of Arabia, which came out a decade earlier. You couldn't find two more different films both in style and intent.  And it's hard to imagine two leading men more different than the smooth, pretty Peter O'Toole and rough-as-gravel Klaus Kinski. The contrast between the films says a lot about the intervening decade. I can't wait for this discussion.



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