Saturday, March 23, 2019
Lo and Behold 2016 directed by Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog is a truly great, f not unique film director and his documentary work stands out for its presentation and subject matter. Into the Abyss and From One Second to the Next are two more recent of his documentaries that show how powerful that medium can be. Lo and Behold, sadly is not in that league or even close to it. It rambles, but goes nowhere and it shows, to me at least that Herzog has little to know understanding of the subject matter.
That is not to say it doesn't have it's moments. It does. I particularly liked the interview with Lawrence Krauss who comes across as reasonable person while some of the other experts, like the guy giving the tour of the birthplace of the Internet come across as total crackpots. Elon Musk makes his points well and a couple others refute some of his ideas in ways that I think show there is more than one way to think about the subjects discussed.
My biggest problems are two parts I find offensive or irresponsible, respectively. The first is the interview with the family who lost a daughter in an accident and then started getting emails of her decapitated body in emails with truly horrible statements about her. That situation is bad enough but Herzog lets the interview include a clip of the mother going all "the Internet is real the Antichrist" and it makes her look foolish and not like the grieving parent she is. I also don't see how they can blame the Internet for what happened... it didn't cause the crash and even the emails are not something new... people would sent horrifying photos and letters to people in the mail before it could be electronically. People have always been inhumane to each others in ways that are hard to understand. I find her being used in a way that is unfeeling and unnecessary. The second is the group who live in an area where the placement of radio telescopes forbids electronic devices, and all wifi signals. Some are there for work but he concentrates on a few that talks about their sensitivity to wifi... it's not a real thing. Humans have no ways to sense that sort of low level radiation and they HAVE been tested to see if there is an affect they can somehow sense something somehow and they never have, not even once. I think it's pretty obvious these people are suffering but giving them a made up answer just prevents them from finding a real one. That is harmful to them and it continues one of the most basic misconceptions about how these things work and encourages being willfully ignorant of real world physics.
So with a heavy heart, I have to put this Herzog film as one of his few disappointments for me.