Werner Herzog on the art of narration, Gorbachev and cat videos

Studio 360
Director Werner Herzog and former leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev in the new documentary “Meeting Gorbachev.”

From the Amazonian jungle in “Fitzcarraldo” to the volcanoes in “Into the Inferno,” Werner Herzog’s filmography is full of stories about confronting extreme forces.

His latest documentary, “Meeting Gorbachev,” also fits that theme: It’s the story of Mikhail Gorbachev, the last President of the Soviet Union, facing a crumbling political and economic system.

Kurt Andersen talks to Herzog about the documentary, then delves into how he writes and performs his trademark narration. “In the editing room, I have a very professional microphone and I speak the commentaries right then and there,” he explains.

Herzog also reacts to a Werner Herzog parody by Paul F. Tompkins (from the “Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project”) and discusses a surprising guilty pleasure: internet cat videos. “Sometimes when I come home and I’m tired and I don’t know how to order my thoughts, I switch on crazy cat videos and immediately I’m rejuvenated,” Herzog says.

Watch: Herzog’s cat video pick.


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