“Into the Inferno” –Listen to Film Director Werner Herzog’s Interview on Volcanoes and Colonizing Mars





Film director's Werner Herzog's newest movie, Into The Inferno, is as much about the culture and ideas that surround volcanoes as it is about the science. His guide is Clive Oppenheimer, a genial, passionate scientist whom he met while filming in Antarctica, and who guides him around six active volcanoes, including into an active danger zone in Indonesia, where they keep their eyes on the cone at all times.

And there is of course an embarrassment of eye-popping up-close, high definition volcano footage, some of it shot by drone, some of it shot by Herzog and his cinematographer, and some of it shot by Katia and Maurice Krafft, a pair of French volcanologists who obsessively chronicled lava floes and eruptions up close, closer than anyone–too close, it ultimately turned out. Their story–and the sublime footage they risked everything to get–is quintessential Herzog. "What are we, how do we function as human beings, what is awesome for us, what is storytelling for us, what is poetry for us, what are our fears and our glories," says Herzog of the questions that drive his films.

Into The Inferno may be a documentary about volcanoes, but "it's not what National Geographic would have done," he adds happily. For Herzog, making documentaries isn't about formulas, but a "defiance of gravity for the sake of something awesome–for gaining sheer poetry. Sheer fever dreams in the jungle."



On disappearing languages: "It's staggering. Of all the languages that we have right now, maybe five percent will be left by the end of this century. And it's not just languages. It means a worldview with the language. Just imagine the last Russian disappearing. There would be no more Tolstoy, no more music by Tchaikovsky, no more poetry by Akhmatova or Tsvetaeva. It's unspeakable."

On the climate: "We have to learn very quickly from mistakes or else we'll be unnecessary on this planet here anymore. I think we were never necessary. But it’s one of those things that happened in evolution, and we are here and we better make the best of it."

On colonizing Mars: "I’m against colonizing Mars as a safe haven–we should better look into making our planet more habitable than it is right now…. I would [go] if I had a camera. Otherwise the idea of colonizing Mars in order to have a safe refuge from our planet is a very misconceived idea. I believe it’s not going to happen. It’s one of those technical utopias that in my opinion is, it's not going to happen. Other utopias will occur, and those will have to do with the internet."

Into The Inferno is now playing on Netflix, with a small theatrical run in New York and Los Angeles.




The Daily Galaxy,  With thanks to Motherboard.com


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