Werner Herzog Season – Screening: Lessons of Darkness

Screening Sunday 21st March, 2010

The Frontline Club’s Werner Herzog season celebrates the work one of the greatest living filmmakers. The season has been kindly curated by his long-time producer Andre Singer who will be speaking at our screening of My Best Fiend.

An apocalyptic vision that hints towards science fiction, Lessons of Darkness concentrates on the aftermath of the first Gulf War – specifically on the Kuwaiti oil fires, as a whole world burst into flames. In contrast to most documentaries there are no comments and few interviews. What must have been the hell itself is presented to the viewer with stunning cinematography and a captivating score.

During his filming exploits, Paul Berriff has survived a major helicopter crash, leapt to safety from a sinking ship in the treacherous North Sea and escaped death when a volcano erupted around him in Nicaragua. On September 11 Berriff was filming with the FDNY’s Assistant Fire Commissioner at the World Trade Center when the south tower collapsed. Berriff was knocked unconscious for 20 minutes before he eventually crawled out of the debris with head injuries. The Daily Telegraph nicknamed Berriff “The Indiana Jones of Television.”

"Lessons of Darkness is as much a film by Paul Berriff as it is mine. It was a very fortunate collaboration. There was alot of two cooks preparing one meal, but in this case Paul was a man of such calibre that our collaboration worked very well. Berriff has made a lot of very physically daring films. A courageous man, very physical in his methods of seeing and creating images. He has a real physical curiosity."

Werner Herzog, Director

"Berriff is a brilliant practitioner. His hallmark is his unique way of making films with people. He has a fantastic reputation, and that’s because of the chemistry he sets up between him and his subject. There is a direct correlation between that quality of that relationship and the quality of the film."

Paul Hamann, former Head of Documentaries, BBC

Language: German, English
Duration: 52 minutes
Release: 1992


Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog grew up in a remote mountain village in Bavaria without a television and has gone on to direct 57 films over the last five decades. We will be showing 3 films that explore the themes his work is best known for, heroes with impossible dreams and the “ecstatic truth”.

The three films in our season are Lessons of Darkness (’92), My Best Fiend (’99) and The White Diamond (’04).