[Sold Out] Science vs. Fiction: Werner Herzog on Every Man for Himself and God Against All

Every Man for Himself and God Against All, declares legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog. In a long-awaited memoir that is as inventive and daring as we could anticipate, Herzog tells the story of his epic artistic career in his inimitable voice.

Herzog shares his childhood memories, fleeing Allied bombing raids in Munich to a rustic part of Bavaria where he spent much of his childhood hungry, without running water, and in deep poverty. Until age 11, Herzog did not even know of the existence of cinema. His interest in filmmaking began at age 15. To finance the work, he took the night shift as a welder in a steel factory. He started to travel on foot. He made his first phone call at age 17 and his first film in 1961 at age 19. The wildly productive working life that followed—spanning the seven continents and encompassing both documentary and fiction—was an adventure as grand and otherworldly as any depicted in his many classic films. In a hypnotic swirl of memory, Herzog untangles and relives his most important experiences and inspirations, telling his story for the first time.

Our Director of Sciences, astrophysicist Janna Levin, hosts the legendary filmmaker and author to celebrate the launch of his memoir and to recount his personal record of self invention that will enthrall fans old and new alike.

Our new signature series, Science vs. Fiction, is inspired by the idea that scientific discovery and fictional world building can be complementary. Each is driven by a love of complexity, a curiosity about the workings of the universe, and the capacity to imagine alternative realities or entirely new worlds. We celebrate filmmakers, authors, and artists for whom science and fiction, observation and fantasy, nature and technology intertwine to spark new ideas in science and beyond.

Before and after the talk, join us for stargazing with the Amateur Astronomers Association of NY, and food by Eat Off Beat will be available all night long.

About the Participants

Werner Herzog was born in Munich on September 5, 1942. He made his first film in 1961 at the age of nineteen. Since then he has produced, written, and directed more than sixty feature and documentary films, including Aguirre, Nosferatu, Fitzcarraldo, Little Dieter Needs to Fly, My Best Fiend, Grizzly Man, Encounters at the End of the World, and Cave of Forgotten Dreams. Herzog has published more than a dozen books of poetry and prose, most recently The Twilight World, and directed as many operas. He has appeared as an actor in Jack Reacher, The Mandalorian, and The Simpsons, and exhibited an art installation, Hearsay of the Soul, at the 2012 Whitney Biennale and the Getty Museum. He also founded his own Rogue Film School as a counterpoint to what is taught in most film schools around the world. He lives in Munich and Los Angeles.

Janna Levin is the Pioneer Works Director of Sciences and the editor-in-chief of Pioneer Works Broadcast. She is also the Claire Tow Professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard College of Columbia University. A Guggenheim Fellow, Janna has contributed to an understanding of black holes and cosmology. She is the presenter of the NOVA feature Black Hole Apocalypse, aired on PBS—the first female presenter for NOVA in 35 years. She is the author of four books, one of which won a PEN prize for a first work of fiction. Her latest book is Black Hole Survival Guide.

This program is supported by the Simons Foundation.