Also known as
Die Große Ekstase des Bildschnitzers Steiner
West Germany [1974] - 45m
Documentary, Sport
Directed by
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The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner poster


October 28, 2020


Herzog has always alternated between narrative films and documentaries. So far, I hadn't seen much of his older docs, The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner is the first I've seen and heralded by Herzog himself as one of his most important films. Can't say I understand why though.

Steiner is a famed sky flyer (pretty much the same as ski jumping, only they go a lot further still) who broke several records in his time by crossing the farthest posts on the slopes. Herzog follows him around, detailing the dangers and appeal of the sport while underlying the often amateurish organization of the events.

While the close-ups and slo-mo footage of the jumps are quite nice, in the end it's still a pretty basic documentary about an athlete. One whose records have long since been beaten. Herzog makes the best of it and his enthusiasm makes sure that even people who don't care for the sport get something out of it, but in the end it's really not that special.

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