Screened as part of NZIFF 2016

Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World 2016

Directed by Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog, director of such notable classics of the non-fiction realm as Grizzly Man, turns his inimitable eye on the galloping evolution of the internet, its geniuses and its ominous implications for creation at large.

USA In English
98 minutes DCP
Exempt

Director/Screenplay

Producers

Rupert Maconick
,
Werner Herzog

Photography

Peter Zeitlinger

Editor

Marco Capalbo

Music

Mark De Gli Antoni
,
Sebastian Steinberg

With

Robert Kahn
,
Leonard Kleinrock
,
Kevin Mitnick
,
Elon Musk
,
Theodor Holm Nelson
,
Sebastian Thrun
,
Adrien Treuille
,
Lucianne Walkowicz

Festivals

Sundance, San Francisco, Hot Docs 2016

For his latest trick, the tirelessly curious Werner Herzog (Fitzcarraldo, Cave of Forgotten Dreams) turns his camera on the internet. The German maestro is no digital native – he eschews even a smartphone – but this proves a boon, liberating Herzog to explore the digital future as if a tourist.

Starting at the UCLA site where the first internet message was typed – a ‘holy place’ – Herzog leads us on a whistle-stop tour, encountering online evangelists and prophets of doom, organised under ten chapter headings. He travels to the town of Green Bank, where locals have settled because proximity to a telescope prohibits radio waves and cellular signals; to a laboratory where robot footballers are being constructed; to the home of a family tormented online following the death of a daughter; a self-driving car developer; internet rehab clinics. Elon Musk, a high-priest of digital entrepreneurship, preaches the importance of humans colonising Mars. ‘A one-way ticket?’ chirrups Herzog. ‘I would come along’.

Veering from impish exuberance to almost apocalyptic scepticism, the inimitable Herzog manages to extract frank and unorthodox responses from his interviewees, many of whom may be more accustomed to speaking in Ted Talk slogans. His abiding fascination: whether ‘the internet can dream of itself’. — Toby Manhire

“The filmmaker remains a fully engaged presence throughout, and it’s hard not to sense a mixture of pessimism and awe in the way he regards his subject… The virtual future may be now, but Lo and Behold, with its stimulating volley of insights and ideas, always feels persistently, defiantly human.” — Justin Chang, Variety