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Please Enjoy Werner Herzog Analyzing Kanye West's "Famous" Video

"You keep thinking: are these people for real? Are they doppelgangers? What could be the story of them? What are they doing? How have they partied? What brought them together?"
Emma Garland
London, GB

Allow me, if I may, to preface this news story by telling you a little bit about Werner Herzog.

Werner Herzog—man, myth, screenwriter, film director, author, actor, and unintentional culture critic—is a philosopher in the truest sense of the word, which is to say, by accident. Werner Herzog has made films about caves, blimps, and death row—in each of them finding mystery in seemingly banal places and provoking empathy towards people society has traditionally taught us to hate. Werner Herzog literally ate his own shoe after losing a bet. Werner Herzog was once shot in the stomach with a BB gun during an interview with Mark Kermode, bled profusely, and laughed it off as "not a significant bullet". Werner Herzog can talk about anything, even when he is the voice of a cartoon monster explaining how human culture is based entirely on dick jokes, and it will be the most fascinating string of sentences you will ever hear in your life. Werner Herzog's latest film, Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World, examines the past, present and future of the internet and how it affects human interaction and modern society.

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With all that in mind, Werner Herzog was recently asked in an interview to analyse Kanye West's video for "Famous" and, true to form, has given it a new lease of life by interpreting it as a meditation on identity in the age of social media.

“Now…" he says, "Is that real Donald Trump or is it fake Donald Trump? That's an interesting thing that the internet can create doppelgangers easily. The most interesting thing for me as a storyteller is, something that I always keep saying, in a movie, yes, you do have a story and you develop a story, but at the same time you have to be very careful and think about and organise a parallel story - a separate independent story that only occurs in the collective mind of the audience. When you hear the rap, which is very well done, all of a sudden it gives him more time than anything else just to reflect on it. This video gives you space for creating your separate parallel story and you keep thinking: are these people for real? Are they doppelgangers? What could be the story of them? What are they doing? How have they partied? What brought them together?"

I won't spoil it for you by writing out the entire transcript, because things that Werner Herzog say are much, much better delivered in Werner Herzog's actual voice. However, here is the largest blow that Werner Herzog, one of the greatest figures of the New German Cinema, critically acclaimed in every field, has just dealt to anyone who has called Kanye West and/or is art trash: "I see something varified here which is essential in real deep storytelling."

Watch Herzog on Kanye’s “Famous” in the video below, edited by Nathan Place:

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