Little Werner Needs to Lie

This began as a response to BMSeattle about ‘Wings of Hope’(1998)*, another, IMO, faux TV documentary from Werner Herzog. It got a little long so I’ll post it here and hopefully give some relief to the comments section for Mark’s post, Grizzly Man.

*The film is about a 17 year old German girl, Juliane Koepcke, being the sole survivor of a plane crash in the Peruvian jungle in 1971. 92 (11) others on the plane died. The plane was hit by lightening and disintegrated. Given that planes are routinely hit by lightening and don’t do that, there is your first howler to judge this “real life” drama by.

BMS- It’s utterly ridiculous. I’m no doctor but I would think shock would kill her given the wounds listed. Or the bugs and bacteria, if not creepy crawlies behind every tree which would make it a short stay in the forest primeval for a vulnerable white girl (Please do note the significance of her shimmering blondness- the film is implicitly flavored with the European invader’s anxieties regarding the indigenous of color, and their wild environs the invaders worked so hard to subjugate and monetize).

This yarn is also born out of the imagination of a James Hilton or William Henry Hudson, like Hudson’s novel, ‘Green Mansions’, which starred Audrey Hepburn in the movie version as a hot white chick far from civilization (Norman Bates is the male lead, el oh el)

Herzog again admits he lies (“Koepcke’s dreams, as described in the film and shot in documentary style, were invented and scripted by Herzog.[2]”- from Wiki)

So what would be the motivation for making a hoax film like this?

In days of old, Rome went to great lengths to restrict travel. All journeys needed official approval. Rome controlled the traffic on the roads they built- these were the information highways of the day.

Today, we see travel restrictions slowly tightening around our collective throat: No fly zones over some foreign territories. No fly lists of “suspicious” individuals. Annoyances great and small when allowed to fly. Invasive threat demonstrations all through the boarding process along with all these new fees to make the cost to the customer steeper. And why do you need to fly anyway, Bubba? There are tourists- I mean- terrorists, everywhere. Stay put and let Google Earth do the travelling for you (spam ads on the house)- Mexico?! You want to see relatives down there? That’s a bullet riddled inferno of blood drinking drug cartels- Don’t you watch the news?! SIT! Staaaaayyy…. (I digress)

Add all that to straight up fear of flying exacerbated by such a film, even while those who remain earthbound remain in a grip over loved ones who do fly. These manufactured fears do change behavior and brain wave patterns by mere suggestion.

Like the Savior, 911 is always with us, even pre-incarnate-

A few years prior to 911 we get Herzog’s plane crash documentary, ‘Wings of Hope’, a different title than its fictional predecessor, ‘Miracles Still Happen’, but no less devout in tone. Herzog, like a handful of celebrities on 911 (Seth MacFarlane?), claims he was plucked by fate from certain death by missing this ill fated flight back in 1971 thanks to some minor paper glitch. Or heavy traffic to the airport or whathaveyou… (He was scouting locations for Aguirre: The Wrath of God- That part I do believe- He was in Peru) This scrape with death was the long simmering motivation for Herzog to mount this project. He claims he couldn’t find Koepcke which was the reason for the delay. He finally located her through a priest who presided over Koepcke’s mother’s funeral. (Mom was sitting next to her daughter on the plane but got separated and died days later as Kopecke should have. Right. (Honestly, I doubt Herzog believes in anything- certainly not his own utterances- but I’m sure he revels in the manipulative effects devotional sentiments have on the faithful. It’s the con-artist’s meat).

Calling all vetted filmmakers!

Did an actual plane crash in Peru? Maybe, but why would Herzog wait for over a quarter of a century to make a film about it? Because his is one more voice in the chorus of anxiety, this particular squawk being part of the intro to the 911 symphony. They waste no opportunity to condition the public, even in the lesser attended “art” houses were Herzog rules the imaginations of so-called cultured folks who need more than ’splosions from their cinema experiences.

Also: Koepcke herself wrote the story for the ’74 film about her ordeal. That project reeks of Church funding- said Church owning the hearts and minds of 90% of Peruvians, and probably their land as well. That should tell us something about the shifting nature of psy-ops over time, where here we see a retrofitting by Herzog, turning an old (white, western European, pro-colonial) Church op into 911 fodder. To repeat, they waste nothing. Which is why so many ops read the same. This is all television programming and TV shows are about ritual, not plots that go somewhere novel. Rituals condition emotional responses. That’s, too, is the con-artist’s raison d’etre.

One more Also: In the film, several parts of the plane are recovered by Herzog and company. Forgive me for being skeptical, but lawsuits descend like exploding plane debris on airlines where luck like this happens. The most dogged investigators on all of planet Earth are insurance investigators and that wreckage would have been found and poured over inch by inch in some hanger in Lima within days of this “survivor” being found. This film is just not credible from any angle, but that’s Herzog for you.

19 thoughts on “Little Werner Needs to Lie

  1. I would not care as much dwelling in the past and I invite you to do the same. Agents/LHs/spooks have agendas to follow, projects to run. Us, regular joes, can do whatever f#$%@! we want.


  2. Werner Herzog is a sort of German Michael Moore. I was always wondering where from did he get the money for his usually absurd films. Nobody would pay to watch it in the theaters. They run on television on second choice channels, mostly nights, where everybody is asleep. Yet still he keeps doing it. I even kind of like it. It’s somehow gripping. But I won’t pay to watch it. He often worked with Peter Berling, an ugly fatso but very talented actor and charismatic person. Peter Berling had a series of mocumentary episodes where he played many different characters from our mainstream history, for instance Napoleons adjutant Jean Dorfmann. It usually was somebody close to an important person, not the person himself. It had the form of an interview and he was arguing from a neutral perspective. Very intelligent and educated. I will have to rewatch it on youtube with my current knowledge. Werner Herzog is also an actor. You may have seen him with Tom Cruise in the first Jack Reacher film. No kidding.


  3. “The most dogged investigators on all of planet Earth are insurance investigators”
    They’re also just integral to any hoax or drill or other fakery passed off as a real event, as are the police, the emergency services, the coroners, the doctors, the media, the funeral parlor, NTSB…
    They can be bought off at will. Hoaxing a big money merry-go-round with the insurance industry at the center a,ll paid for ultimately by the idiot at the end of the food chain with a car or a house or buying products and services from companies higher up the insurance web who can pass on the hoax surcharge.


    1. For instance…which insurance investigator is going to call out this event the other day in Scotland? None.

      and the spooks have even left us an Easter Egg [or present under the Christmas tree] in the shape of a gay couple who both allegedly died there, well one was improbably taken to a hospital, the other wasn’t. Oh, and a dramatic, blurred “child rescue”, probably of a doll or dummy. It was a media story, period.


    2. X- Forgive me but I might be missing your point. Since Herzog’s plane crash never happened, there were no insurance companies involved, so no investigators to buy off. In my experience, when real things have happened to me and mine, the insurance investigators I’ve seen work, they are as cold as assassins when looking for the real cause of any claim.
      The fact that debris was found by the film crew is to my mind the surest evidence of a hoax. Back in ’71, the natives would have been paid triple overtime to help the local authorities, even military, find every last inventoried part of that plane and hand it over to investigators to protect any surviving family member’s claims, as well as the finances of the airline.
      Everyone may indeed have their price, but claiming that everyone can be bought off, end of story, smacks of the simplistic reasoning that ‘everything is fake’.


      1. Not sure what my point is here but, Carole Lombard Crash Site Direct Route. In 1942, a plane carrying Carole Lombard (famous movie star and wife of Clark Gable) crashed high on the east face of Mt. Potosi. The site is now a footnote in history, visited occasionally by plane crash buffs, Carole Lombard fans, and tough Las Vegas hikers. The crash site has been picked over for decades, but much material remains, including small bits of human remains. The largest pieces of wreckage include engine parts and landing gear, which are in the gully below the impact site. People already recovered the large aluminum parts (body and wings), so those are gone. However, thousands of small pieces of aluminum, lots of cabling, lots of fuel or hydraulic lines, bits of glass and ceramics, rubber hoses, and many other metallic parts litter the ground. People have been collecting the more interesting artifacts for decades, so what remains is too big to carry or not particularly interesting.


        1. It’s a good point to address, KS, because 1942 crash site protocols may have been different from what I think of since the advent of jet aircraft in the 50’s and the boom in commercial flight.
          But there’s also this: “Three was a hard luck number in her mother’s mind. And it was Flight 3 and Carole was 33 years and three months old and there were three in the party,” the author said Thursday by phone from his home in Pennsylvania. (Never been a big numbers guy, but this is too much in your face for even me)


          1. Tyrone, you’ve placed me in the unenviable position of self-promotion. The first 4 1/2 pages of my article “Strange Relations 3” at MM’s site are dedicated to Carole Lombard and the crash. FYI, her mother’s surname was Cheney.


        2. Kevin- I just reread that segment of yours on Lombard and her faking her death. Reminds me of Kennedy-Cavendish going down in flames 6 years later.
          That said, the debris people supposedly find to this day would have been planted. Or, there are no crash site fans (whatever those are) or Lombard fans joining “tough Las Vegas hikers”. (Does hiking up a mountain in blistering heat or punishing cold sound like something Carole Lombard fans would do? Do 80+ year old seniors do things like that?) The photos of plane debris are, then, just more show biz. Perhaps there was a test craft launched into the face of the peak to more realistically scatter the debris and start the fire the locals claim to have seen. What became Nellis Air Force base was already open for business in early ’42 so that’s likely the starting point for this op. The crash also turned scores of new eyeballs to Vegas’ existence and the town militarized quickly, the population exploding. (Recall that Howard Hughes was a huge military contractor and Vegas was his town)
          Flying head first into WWII, I imagine Hollywood/Intel figured there wasn’t going to be much use for screwball personas in the new martial propaganda push and so a tragic exit would wipe the smile off the public’s face and would help get them to put on their war paint.


        3. Lol off topic but i misread on my phone screen at first the third cohort to visit crash site were tough las vegas bikers. Cause the sissy bikers just cant bear to be in the place where people met a violent end.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Tyrone, I was merely suggesting that for any faked crash organised by the spooks there will be an insurance assessment which will and must go along with the official narrative. Someone has to pay for the wrecked helicopter or bus, just as an upright funeral director has to be found to perform an empty casket burial for the “deceased” from these crashes. I suggest their doggedness and the contents of their report might be influence by a previous visit from people in dark suits from Langley or wherever.
        Who’s saying everyone can be bought off? What interests me is how the dogged yet venal can be sounded out an subsequently bought off.


  4. I am enjoying the attention to Herzog’s films here!
    He and his work have been on my radar for some time after hearing him state in an interview that he counted the Warren Report as a project to admire for its meticulous attention to detail. (Sorry, I cannot site the exact interview.)

    This post tickles me because just this past weekend my girlfriend and I watched the movie “Alive” starring Ethan Hawke about the “Miracle in the Andes,” where a rugby team’s chartered airplane crashed and the survivors ate the dead.
    As the film went on I noted that the plane was an Uruguayan Air Force plane, of the same Air Force that would later rescue the survivors.
    We are told that the rugby team chartered an Air Force plane, piloted by a Colonel with a crew of four other Air Force officers. The one surviving military crewmember is depicted in the film as becoming so panicked as to become unhinged and a liability to the others.

    I suggest others take a look at the Wiki for that event, including the pictures taken of the mountain-top, cannibalizing survivors smiling widely as they lounge around the fuselage wreckage.

    And as for Herzog, my guess is that his greatest inside joke hoax film is his “Encounters At The End of The World.”


      1. Just like the WW2 movies they keep rolling out, year after year, now 70+ years later. They’re basically all filled with the same propaganda: Hitler/Nazis/Germans=”bad”, Roosevelt/Americans+Churchill/British=”good”; along with war is a necessary evil, and fighting for the “good” cause is not only glorious, but desirable.

        Back to the original post, I’ve noticed the Grizzly Man effect in National Geographic and similar shows and movies, instilling a subliminal fear of nature: Don’t go out into the woods and wild places, else you’ll be attacked, mauled or killed by cougars, wolves, bears, or snakes! Or you’ll fall off the edge of a mountain, get lost in the forest, drown in the lake, face starvation or be poisoned by dangerous plants or tainted water! I encountered the result of this programming when I set out to do some solo long-term hiking and camping; the admonitions and warnings I heard were intense, repetitive and fearsome. I was told to beware of rapists and serial killers, too. (Since I rarely watch TV or read news media, I was ignorant and unconcerned about these “dangers”.) The only harm I came by was by my own hand–or rather, it was the large tree branches that snapped and bloodied my head and lip while gathering firewood.


  5. Herzog covered another sketchy subject the year after “Grizzly Man” with a film called “Rescue Dawn.” According to Wiki, little Lieutenant Dieter Dengler and his brothers would go into bombed-out buildings, tear off wallpaper and bring it to his mother to boil for a meal. (Like Campbell’s without the fancy packaging.)


  6. This just in from The Onion:
    Werner Herzog: I Killed And Ate Timothy Treadwell In 2003
    LOS ANGELES—Shedding new light on the tragic ending to his critically acclaimed portrait of the animal activist, filmmaker Werner Herzog told reporters Wednesday that he killed and ate Timothy Treadwell in 2003. “I should finally say that during the filming of my documentary Grizzly Man, I mauled Timothy Treadwell to death and then devoured his remains,” said Herzog, admitting after 15 years that it was in fact he and not the grizzly bears of Katmai National Park who sunk his teeth into Treadwell’s neck, ripped out his jugular, and feasted on his organs. “Timothy and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard were setting up camp by a salmon stream when I approached them, aggressively batted them around, and then tore them limb-from-limb while they screamed. His judgment was perhaps clouded by his optimistic view of nature, which, in the end, sadly led to me picking his bones clean.” Herzog went on to say that the most tragic part of the story was that, after years of integration, Treadwell felt he had finally gained his trust.


  7. As with many of his other works, Herzog utilizes Wagner’s Das Rheingold Prelude throughout “Wings of Hope.” I shot up in my chair when I heard it. Malick’s “The New World” had recently come out also utilizing that same piece. I saw many parallels: disjunctive editing, voiceover, shooting in forest/jungle. I managed to confront Herzog himself about it almost a year later outside a screening of his Gulf War piece “Lessons of Darkness.” I said Malick ripped off the style of “Wings of Hope” with the Wagner and the style. Herzog grinned. The light was about to turn for him to cross the street. “Well, Malick DID call and apologize.”


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