Anyone who is familiar with Herzog, Blank, or Errol Morris probably knows the story by now. After setting down a number of career paths and failing to stick with any of them, Errol Morris was informed by Werner Herzog that he should pursue filmmaking since he had managed to fail at everything else. And if Morris actually finished Gates of Heaven, then Herzog would cook and eat his shoe, hence this documentary.
In addition to providing some handy tips for enhancing a cooked shoe’s deliciousness (plenty of garlic, onions, spices, and duck fat), Les Blank also captures plenty of the usual Herzog wisdom. For instance, “We have to declare holy war against what we see every single day on television,” specifically Bonanza and Rawhide. Also, “A grown-up man should not go a week without cooking a big meal.” Herzog claims that cooking is the only alternative to filmmaking besides “walking on foot,” although when he spoke at my school last year, he seemed to be a major proponent of reading, as well. He also reiterated a number of points made here, like how anyone who wants to get a film made shouldn’t hesitate to steal a camera. As Herzog himself states while eating his shoe onstage at the UC Theater in Berkeley, California, “I don’t like cowards.”