This chapter addresses the political aspect of Herzog’s documentaries since his fall from grace in the early 1980s, especially around the making of Fitzcarraldo (1982). Charges of environmental and human rights abuse were leveled against Herzog throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the most famous incident being his altercations with indigenous Peruvians during preproduction of Fitzcarraldo—a concern that received wide attention at the time, both in print and on film. Close analysis of such films as Ballad of the Little Soldier (1984), Ten Thousand Years Older (2002), and The White Diamond (2004) shows how Herzog appropriates certain documentary conventions and forms of truth telling and puts them in the service of revising his own cinematic past.
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