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How Much Wood Would A Woodchuck Chuck?

Germany, 1976 (MIFF 2001, Burden of Dreams – Werner Herzog)

Director: Werner Herzog

In one of his most well known documentaries Herzog contrasts the contestants in the 1976 Cattle Auctioning World Championships with the Amish community in which the event is held. The ironic connection here is the rampant capitalism of the auctioneers' trade when viewed alongside the simple, anti-materialism of the Amish. This being Werner Herzog though, things won't be so black and white .Foreshadowing the later Huie's Sermon, the director is fascinated with his observations of a new language emerging from the speed-yodeling that marks the auctioneers' efforts to outdo one another at the championship events.

Some of the competitors sound like a fired up Hitler played triple time, others have a curious barking style or seem to be speaking in tongues trying out for a Mel Brooks remake of The Exorcist. A slice of weird Americana observed with the sly humour only an outsider is capable of.

See also...

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Huie’s Sermon

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Gasherbrum: The Dark Glow of the Mountains

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Bells From The Deep

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Lessons of Darkness

First screened to rapt audiences at MIFF 1993, Lessons Of Darkness is Herzog's meditation on the apocalyptic aftermath of the Guff War. Tragedy and beauty are blended in aerial photography that ... More »

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