Werner Herzog 80th Anniversary Edition

ARTHAUS releases the Edition on DVD and Blu-ray on 1 September 2022. Home cinema highlight: 10 films by a true master director in one box set.

By Sidney Schering, FILMSTARTS, June 28, 2022


He worked with David Lynch, Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman and Robert Pattinson, made Klaus Kinski a world star and is celebrated globally as a genius: Werner Herzog. On the occasion of his 80th birthday, a new Blu-ray box set is dedicated to him.

Werner Herzog as the villain in "The Mandalorian"
Credit: © Disney

Whether as a director, writer, producer or as an oft-copied, unique voice from the off: Werner Herzog is one of the most famous and respected German filmmakers - and has also been attracting attention as an actor for some time. But his appearances in "The Mandalorian" or "Jack Reacher" are merely curious footnotes in his work spanning six decades. Much more impressive is the ease with which Herzog has covered numerous genres - always maintaining his distinctive signature: From horror films and surreal thrillers to adventure cinema and historical dramas, to great tragedy and almost nihilistic documentaries that nevertheless exude great inquisitiveness.

On the occasion of Herzog's 80th birthday coming up this year, Arthaus is releasing a new collection that brings together a cross-section of his work, both on DVD and Blu-ray. Naturally, his collaborations with the feisty actor Klaus Kinski are part of the ten-film set.

Klaus Kinski and Huerequeque Enrique Bohorquez in Herzog’s 1982 movie “Fitzcarraldo.”
Credit: Werner Herzog Film

The "Werner Herzog 80th Anniversary Edition" will be released on 1 September 2022 and can already be pre-ordered:

"Werner Herzog 80th Anniversary Edition" at Amazon

The "Werner Herzog 80th Anniversary Edition" does not contain any Blu-ray premieres, but the set does include several films that have been out of print in HD for some time.

The "Werner Herzog 80th Anniversary Edition" includes five films that have received the highest rating of five stars from FILMSTARTS and therefore officially enjoy masterpiece status. The masterful half of the set thus also includes Herzog's possibly most famous and influential film: the extraordinary, exhilaratingly filmed adventure "Fitzcarraldo" with Kinski as a manic person who wants to build an opera house in the jungle. Kinski's outbursts of rage during the filming are well documented and have become quasi-German cultural heritage. Nevertheless, it does the film an injustice to reduce it to that - its narrative is too powerful, its images and sounds too memorable. No wonder it is referenced in films as diverse as Wes Anderson's "The Deep Sea Divers", "There Will Be Blood" and the Pixar hit "Up".

Less frequently imitated, but no less remarkable, are the historical adventure "Aguirre, the Wrath of God", the haunting theatre adaptation "Woyzeck" and "Nosferatu - Phantom of the Night", the devastatingly consistent remake of the silent classic "Nosferatu". All these films were made with Kinski in the leading role; as a Herzog gem without Kinski, the set includes the harrowing Kaspar Hauser biopic "Every man for himself and God against all".

Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski. The making of “Nosferatu.”
Credit: Werner Herzog Film

Also part of the collection is the fifth and final Kinski-Herzog collaboration "Cobra Verde", about which Herzog himself has not spoken too positively in the past, but which is remarkable for its unexpectedly great self-irony alone. Also on board are two 4.5-star films, the surreal thriller "My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?", produced by David Lynch and starring Willem Dafoe and Michael Shannon among others, and the Buddhism documentary "Wheel of Time".

The box is rounded off with the haunting documentary "Lessons in Darkness" about burning oil fields in Kuwait, as well as the epic "Queen of the Desert" based on true events. Nicole Kidman plays the leading role in this film, James Franco and Robert Pattinson are also involved in leading supporting roles.

"Lessons in Darkness" 1992, Shot in documentary style on 16-millimetre film from the perspective of an almost alien observer.
Credit: Werner Herzog Film