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Nosferatu (1979)

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Nosferatu the Vampyre Tyskland 1979 Regi Werner Herzog Manus Werner Herzog Foto Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein Med Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruo Ganz, Roland Topor 1t 47m DCP Engelsk tale, utekstet Aldersgrense 16 år

Jalal Toufic wrote: "There has been an absence of a continuous tradition in German cinema: between the expressionist period and the New German Cinema. The directors [from the latter period] felt the need to reestablish a link with the pre-Nazi filmmakers." ('Why Make Another Version of Nosferatu?', from Toufic's book (Vampires)).

In a 1978 feature from Sight and Sound, Beverly Walker, who was hired as an advisor on the 1979 version of Nosferatu, quoted Herzog: "We do not make Nosferatu just for ourselves. We have a responsibility. My challenge in doing a new version of Nosferatu is to link the great epoch of Expressionist filmmaking with this renaissance… to create a bridge over this historical gap." Walker was referring here with the word 'renaissance' to renowned film historian and critic Lotte Eisner being the first to give New German Cinema this term.

Herzog also said: "We are trying in our films to build a thin bridge back to that time. We are not remaking Nosferatu, but bringing it to new life and new character for a new age". Judith Mayne, in her essay Herzog, Murnau and the Vampire, adds: "How appropriate that Lotte Eisner should affirm Herzog’s “rebirth” of Nosferatu, declaring that “the film is not being remade, it is being reborn”. Upon visiting the set of Herzog's Nosferatu, Eisner confirmed: "I never thought I could be friends with a German again. But here I am… Werner is somehow like Murnau brought back to life."

Beverly Walker elaborated further in her article on how it was like to work with the filmmaker:
"The intensity in Herzog’s films emanates from the power of his personality and his pristine sense of truth, and its extraordinary force is not explainable or really comprehensible even when one is watching – or participating in – its creation. Whether in front of the camera or behind it, one has no choice but to surrender to Herzog’s vision."

The shooting of this film, however, was arduous, and it witnessed much trouble, especially in the town of Delft, in the Netherlands. "The obstacles had been so enormous that I had sometimes felt the film was cursed – and yet Herzog somehow prevailed. A comment made by Isabelle Adjani some weeks earlier in Delft came to mind. We were discussing the many internal problems which were complicated by the refusal of the city to provide even a modicum of co-operation. Adjani, a perspicacious realist, finally shook her head. ‘But the film won’t be touched,’ she said. ‘It’s like a benediction. You can feel it, pulling the film forward." (Beverly Walker).

"[Herzog's team eventually] moved on to Czechoslovakia, [where] Nosferatu at last reached completion. To me, it seemed miraculous, But I had seen the rushes and I knew Adjani was right: the film had not been touched. Something had pulled it forward." (Walker).


Adventures on the set of Werner Herzog's Nosferatu, by Beverly Walker, first appeared as 'Werner Herzog's Nosferatu' in Sight and Sound's autumn issue of 1978.

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