Features September 7, 2010 By Alex Shephard

Ingrid (Chloe Sevigny) in My Son, My Son, What have Ye Done?

Ingrid (Chloe Sevigny) in My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?

filler148 Werner Herzog InterviewYou’re drawn to characters on the fringes of sanity and who often also live in extreme locations – a number of your films have taken place in the jungles of South America, for instance. What attracts you to life on the periphery?
Well, I wouldn’t think “extreme”, myself, but I understand your question. I think when you are looking at a city from its outskirts on a hill you probably understand the pattern of the city much better than being right inside. And I think looking at a human being from a far-out position gives you more insight; you will have more insight into the human condition. Let me make a metaphor: If you want to test an alloy of metal you would find out about its structure by placing it under extreme heat, under extreme pressure, under extreme radiation — then you will understand the very nature of this metal alloy.

As a director, you’re self-taught. Do you think that there’s any value in formal education in the arts?
I have my doubts about film schools as they exist. They are okay as long as you really want to be part of the film industry, of an entertainment industry where there are certain structures, certain rules, certain behaviors — certain rules of engagement. Then fine, yes, do it. But real films that deal with collective dreams and fantasy and storytelling are not normally inside the system. This is why I founded my own film school — The Rogue Film School — which is an absolutely wild enterprise.

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