West Germany, 1979, 107 min, 2K DCP, Dir. Werner Herzog, Not Rated, German with English subtitles, AGFA
"An homage to the 1922 F.W. Murnau movie, conceived and executed with passionate connoisseurship." —Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Werner Herzog’s only horror film is as rich with artistry and tragedy as his most grounded, human work. It is 1850 in the beautiful, perfectly-kept town of Wismar. Jonathan Harker (Bruno Ganz, Wings of Desire, Downfall) is leaving on a long journey over the Carpathian Mountains to finalize real estate arrangements with a wealthy nobleman. His wife Lucy (Posession's Isabelle Adjani) begs him not to go and is troubled by a strong premonition of danger. Despite her warnings, Jonathan arrives four weeks later at a large, gloomy castle. Out of the mist appears a pale, wraith-like figure with deep-sunken eyes who identifies himself as Count Dracula (Klaus Kinski). The events that transpire slowly convince Harker that he is in the presence of a vampire. Even still, he doesn’t realize the magnitude of danger he, his wife and his town are about to experience. Roger Ebert praised the film's visual style, saying, "One striking quality of the film is its beauty. Herzog's pictorial eye is not often enough credited. His films always upstage it with their themes. We are focused on what happens, and there are few 'beauty shots.' Look here at his control of the color palette, his off-center compositions, of the dramatic counterpoint of light and dark. Here is a film that does honor to the seriousness of vampires. No, I don't believe in them. But if they were real, here is how they must look."
Restoration courtesy of Shout! Factory and the American Genre Film Archive.
Werner Herzog began his filmmaking career at the young age of 19 and, over the next six decades, established himself as one of cinema's eminent directors - and among its most daring. A leader of the New German Cinema movement, with a wealth of celebrated documentaries and influential fiction features, a modest career in front of the camera, and a voice that can soothe any soul, Herzog is as intense a figure as the characters he puts on screen. Roger Ebert put it best: "[Werner Herzog] gave me a model for the film artist: fearless, driven by his subjects, indifferent to commercial considerations, trusting his audience to follow him anywhere. In the thirty-eight years since I saw my first Herzog film, after an outpouring of some fifty features and documentaries, he has never created a single film that is compromised, shameful, made for pragmatic reasons, or uninteresting. Even his failures are spectacular."
We are pleased to present new restorations of four of Herzog's most celebrated works: Aguirre, the Wrath of God, The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, Nosferatu the Vampyre, and Fitzcarraldo. These four films showcase the themes he has found most enthralling throughout his prolific career: men with unusual obsessions, the futile struggle against nature, and the pursuit of images never yet seen.
A $30 series pass that grants admission for one person to all 4 films in the series is available for purchase.