Herzog rarely misses a chance to leap on canoes, wade through sludge, and handle native arrows. When he faces the camera and bares his zeal and fears, one glimpses a man capable of directing as well as starring in Moby Dick.
The camera is weapon and savior, mediator and patient observer, but it is never objective in Cameraperson, an extraordinary and singular filmmaking document by Kirsten Johnson that quietly lorded over everything I saw at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
It is as niche a production as you will see, bound to attract a handful of true believers and a good bit of eye-rolling opprobrium, in part because it is directly concerned with hetero white male angst, which is not precisely the flavor of the month.
With naked bodies slowly twisting and writhing in a thick, inky chiaroscuro, a hazy but unidirectional light giving definition only to the rounded forms and flexing musculature of the women onscreen, it is clear that Grandrieux has painting on his mind.
"The film is never going to be transferred to digital. It always has to be shown as film, and it was constructed as a palindrome, so it could be shown from either end, and you can’t really do that with digital."
"All the shots in my films are always the same, but they are different from one film to the other. In this film I did not want it to be too long. They are about fifteen seconds. It is the minimum. I cannot make this film with shots of less than fifteen seconds."