Werner Herzog Does the Internet in ‘Lo and Behold’

A few months ago I sat in a Munich conference room with Werner Herzog listening to him talk about, among other things, his upcoming documentary, Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World. He shared anecdotes about interviewing Elon Musk (“It was hard to get any human emotion out of him”), and the semi-staging of the monk shot – a “happy accident” that was both unplanned and essential. That’s just the kind of mysterious magic his films are known for. I was at his Rogue Film School, famous for including lock-picking in the syllabus. But beyond the anarchy he encourages, in filmmaking and in life, the real pleasure of Herzog is in hearing him talk about things he’s enquiring into, because he embodies the zero-fucks-given mentality better than anyone.

In the trailer for Lo and Behold (below), it’s clear Magnolia Pictures is counting on audiences heading to theaters for the iconic filmmaker himself as much as for the à propos subject matter. “The internet is a manifestation of evil itself,” says one woman being interviewed, while another man postulates that future generations may evolve beyond needing any human interaction or companionship altogether. Nothing will depress me more today than that sentiment. But if I have to hear about the downfall of humanity via technology, it’s Herzog’s voice I want lulling me into the seemingly inevitable. Lo and Behold hits theaters August 19.

And for the record, Herzog thinks Musk’s Mars plan is idiotic.