Werner Herzog Analyzes Kanye’s ‘Famous’ Video: ‘I Have Never Seen Anything Like This’

"I have never seen anything like this. It really had caliber," he says.

By Hayden Wright

Kanye West’s video for “Famous” courted controversy and gossip site clicks when it premiered earlier this summer, but now heralded movie director Werner Herzog has given it the film-school treatment it deserves. The German auteur participated in a close reading of the video’s text and subtext, making sense of those waxen figures of Anna Wintour, Taylor Swift, Caitlyn Jenner and others. Color Herzog impressed!

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“That’s an interesting thing that the internet can create: doppelgängers,” he says in narration over the video. “The most interesting thing for me as a storyteller is … in a movie, yes, you do have a story, and you develop a story. But at the same time you have to be very careful and think about and organize a parallel story, a separate, independent story that only occurs in the collective mind of the audience. And when you hear the rap, which is very well done, all of a sudden it gives you more time than anything else just to reflect on it.”

Though “Famous” scandalized the public and offended some unwitting participants, Herzog’s estimation of its artistic merit is worth noting. In short, he says “Famous” takes the lowest of the lowbrow to make a highbrow statement about fame.

“I have never seen anything like this. It really had caliber,” he says.

To listen to his full critical analysis, watch the clip with commentary on Radio.com.


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