Locarno 2013. Unsentimental Humanism: Werner Herzog's "On Death Row II"

  • MUBI
Expanding further on a project that began with the feature film Into the Abyss two years ago, Werner Herzog has added another set of four hour-long entries to his On Death Row mini-series. The initial film focused on a single murder case in Conroe, Texas, the two criminals, various loved ones of the victims, and even employees of the state involved in acting out the death penalty. Without playing down the horror—and absurdity—of the crimes, indeed emphasizing the meaninglessness of the murders, Herzog created rich human portraits of the "killers", arguing not for their innocence but simply against the primitive death penalty. By carefully tracing the reverberating pain caused by the crimes, and the trauma inflicted on everyone it reaches, the film's empathy lay equally with everyone on screen. As beautifully restrained and convincing the film was, the TV spin-off, is, in some ways, even more successful, and
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