Sunday, December 12, 2010
171. Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1998)
I don't think of myself as a hero. No, only dead people are heroes.
If you have ever doubted a movie because it's "just a documentary", then you should start with documentaries from Werner Herzog. Herzog is one of the few filmmakers who makes docs, feature films, and television shows. He also does it in quite a few different languages. I admit, I have seen nowhere near his entire catalog, but I also have never seen anything from him that I didn't love.
This film is about Dieter Dengler, a German-born U.S. immigrant who joined the army during the Vietnam War because of his passion for flying. After he survived his plane crash landing, he was captured, held in a tortuous P.O.W. camp, escaped and lived in the jungle before a long-awaited rescue. This movie focuses not on Dieter's miraculous story (for that check out Herzog's film "Rescue Dawn"), but on his story since his rescue. Herzog has the uncanny ability to get people to talk about the deepest, darkest portions of their soul and, therefore, make some of the best documentaries of all time.