"Read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read," says Werner Herzog, wrapping up the post-film Q&A for his latest doc, Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World.
The celebrated documentarian's advice is directed at young filmmakers, who he feels are too often trained in practical skills, but rarely encouraged to open books. But this encouragement, Herzog explains, applies to all people, who should seek a better understanding of the world and our place in it.
The Warren Commission book club begins now
Where should we start? Herzog — whose syllabus for his Rogue Film School seminar that contains no books on film — recommends starting with classics like works by Hemingway and great poetry. But his most unexpected recommendation is the Warren Commission report, the investigation of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Herzog describes the work as true, important, and a great piece of true crime storytelling.
Here's a link to the Warren Commission report, if you're curious.
Herzog's been repeating this machine-gun fire proclamation of "read, read, read" for years now, and even recommended the Warren Commission in the privacy of Rogue Film School seminars. But what's fascinating about the guidance today is how it aligns with Lo and Behold, a film that in its latter segments makes a grim forecast for humans who've become too reliant on the internet for knowledge, companionship, and basic life functions.
"Don't rely on the social networks," says Herzog. "Read."