Magazine article Screen International

Werner Herzog, Queen of the Desert

Magazine article Screen International

Werner Herzog, Queen of the Desert

Article excerpt

The film-maker talks about his Berlin competition entry.

Werner Herzog's Berlin competition entry Queen of the Desert, about the British writer, archaeologist and explorer Gertrude Bell, proved a novel experience for the iconic director.

"I didn't know Gertrude Bell before a friend of mine told me about her," the German director told Screen.

"I knew within 20 minutes of sifting through her letters that this subject was so big... The biggest challenge was to condense the life of a person of such complexity."

Herzog related to Bell, who seemingly felt most comfortable among the Bedouin desert community: "Yes, to some degree there is a distant echo of her in me but there's also a distant echo in me of Fitzcarraldo and other characters."

The film is one of the director's first narrative features to focus on a female lead.

"It never occurred to me that this was a first narrative feature about a woman. A number of people have mentioned this. …

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