Euro Beat: New Films From Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders and... Orson Welles!?

Brian Clark, Editor-at-Large
In the latest installment of Euro Beat, I'll be taking a look at several brand new (at least,new to the public), very significant projects  originating from unlikely places. As always, click through the gallery below for additional European news briefs as well as the latest box office report.

First up is German fiction and documentary giant Werner Herzog who has followed up his harrowing death row documentary Into the Abyss with a public service announcement about texting and driving that is, no kidding, also harrowing.

The spot has been getting generous coverage around the internet partly because our culture is only just now becoming vocal about this issue, and partly because legendary filmmakers don't tackle PSA's very often. However, in case you just cracked a smile and skipped watching the thing itself, allow me to argue that all cinephiles -- even those who don't drive or text -- should give the film their attention.

And it is a film. Either that, or the most cinematic PSA ever made. Regardless, the thirty-five minute documentary, which delves into the lives of both the victims and perpetrators of accidents caused by texting and driving, touches on much more universal issues than just the matter at hand. As the title, From One Second to the Next, suggests, the film provides reflections one of Herzog's favorite themes -- that chaotic unpredictability of life, and the way it can change irreversibly in a split second.

Moreover, rather than simply wallowing in the tragedy of each moment, Herzog examines the way the tragedy evolves over time, as well as the human capacity for forgiveness. Just try not to grab the tissues when a man who hit three Amish children while driving reads a letter from their father.  

There's also something both artful and awful about the way Herzog displays the text message being sent at the time of accident on screen during the interviews. As he told Fast Company:

Much of the traffic now in messages is mostly banalities. All the catastrophic accidents when these young people were texting, every single message that was sent while they were driving is utterly trivial, in every single case... I do believe that very much of what's going on with texting [in general] is of the same triviality.

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