THE GREAT ECSTASY OF WOODCARVER STEINER
by Werner Herzog
Sep 04, 2012 | 865 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Walter Steiner, a Swiss sculptor and repeat world champion in ski-flying, raises himself as if in religious ecstasy into the air. He flies so frightfully far, he enters the region of death itself: only a little farther, and he would not land on the steep slope, but rather crash beyond it. Steiner speaks at the end of a young raven, which he raised and which, in his loneliness as a child, was his only friend. The raven lost more and more feathers, which probably had to do with the feed that Steiner gave him. Other ravens attacked his raven and, in the end, tortured him so frightfully that young Steiner had only one choice: Unfortunately, I had to shoot him, says Steiner, because it was torture to watch how he was tortured by his own brothers because he could not fly any more. And then, in a fast cut, we see Steiner—in place of his raven—flying, in a terribly aesthetic frame, in extreme slow motion, slowed to eternity. This is the majestic flight of a man whose face is contorted by fear of death as if deranged by religious ecstasy.

–Werner Herzog, “On the Absolute, the Sublime and Ecstatic Truth”
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