March 31, 2014

Werner Herzog is Changing the World with His Haunting Doc, 'From One Second to the Next'

Legendary German filmmaker Werner Herzog is truly one of the masters of documentary, and he has created more amazing documentaries than could be counted on all of your fingers and toes. In a rather unlikely partnership, Herzog recently teamed  up with several major cellular companies in order to craft a short documentary about one of the major issues that we face in our technology-laden society, texting and driving. The result is a doc called From One Second to the Next, and it might very well be some of Herzog's most haunting and heart-wrenching work to date.

As long as the documentary form has existed, it has been used to document and provide insight into an array of cultures, individuals, and societal issues. In many cases, a well-crafted documentary has the power not only to inform an audience, but to sway opinion through providing a sense of emotional resonance on the given issue. Herzog certainly demonstrates this in From One Second to the Next.

Here's his film in its entirety.

Obviously this is a piece that is meant to pull at the heartstrings of its audience, and it's incredibly successful in that endeavor. With this documentary, however, Herzog has made something that might just reach further than any of his previous work. Because it was commissioned by the four giants of the cellular industry, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile, From One Second to the Next has some serious backing.

As a result of this partnership, Herzog's doc is now required viewing for more than 40,000 high schools and a multitude of safety organizations and government agencies. It's no stretch to imagine that, within this massive context, a documentary as utterly haunting and revealing as From One Second to the Next might just change the world for the better and save some lives. It truly is a testament to the power of filmmaking.

What do you guys think of From One Second to the Next? Let's hear your thoughts down in the comments!

Link: Werner Herzog Made a Documentary About Texting And Driving. And It's Haunting -- Brow Beat, Slate's Culture Blog

Your Comment

22 Comments

I love it when I see filmmaking used to educate and inform people instead of being used as a tool to distract people.

March 31, 2014 at 10:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Unfortunately,truth and accuracy tends to suffer, but film is all about eliciting an emotional response, truth rarely factors into it, when directors want to sway people to a certain position. I can think of a number of documentaries like "Who Killed the Electric Car?" and "Gasland" that contained misleading or erroneous information.

April 1, 2014 at 8:57AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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moebius22

Not to start an argument, but how was there misleading or inaccurate information in this particular work by Werner Herzog? It's undeniable that many of the techniques used by Herzog in this 30min doc are meant to elicit the maximum emotional response possible from the subject matter; however, if there are topics deserving of that technique, this is one of them. Take the intellectual hat off for a second and understand that there is no such things as two sides to this particular issue.

April 1, 2014 at 9:36AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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CoolHandLuque

Werner Herzog doesn't make documentaries to find or show you the ultimate truth. They are often very manipulative and certainly subjective. He's trying to tell you a story and evoke your emotional responses. Don't think you can nitpick about him trying to make you aware of the dangers of texting/using your phone in a mindless way in potentially dangerous situations.

April 3, 2014 at 5:49AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Pat

just a note, this was released like 6-9months ago. it is not new.

April 1, 2014 at 2:03AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Big Internet He...

Just a note, some people discover films months, even (gasp) years after they've been released! Did I just blow your mind?

April 1, 2014 at 9:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Filmpunk

Decades, or half a century could also be in your comment. Think "Metropolis", for instance.

April 2, 2014 at 11:04AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Agni Ortiz

What you said does not deny what he said. This film is no new, that's true. And finding Metropolis today, will not make it new.

April 3, 2014 at 5:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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maghoxfr

But does it make it unworthy of sharing, in the hopes of finding others who have yet to discover it?

April 6, 2014 at 12:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Kat

Sure there's laws about not texting and driving. But here in California it's a joke how loosely they are enforced, like motorcycle lane splitting laws, and auto sound ordinances laws. Those laws may as well not even exist. Viewing this doc will change some people. But not everyone. If there was fear from strict enforcement of no texting while driving laws there would be less of it.

BTW, thanks for posting this. I'm on freeways a lot during the week and most of the strange things I see being done by other cars is from the driver paying attention to their phone.

April 1, 2014 at 5:19AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

Lane splitting by motorcycle is legal in California, and actually a much safer way to travel for motorcyclists and makes sense to allow smaller vehicles to not be subjected to a Big SUV footprint, also carrying one person.

April 2, 2014 at 11:08AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Agni Ortiz

You're right. In Switzerland they have draconian fees for everything from driving too fast to using your phone in the car. You can easily pay a few thousand bucks for driving too fast and I think they even charge more depending on your income.
As a result, you have never seen people drive so law-abiding like they do in Switzerland. And not only the swiss, foreigners as well. They all know it is going to be horribly expensive if they don't follow the rules, and that is why driving in Switzerland is really relaxed!

April 10, 2014 at 5:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Heiko

For me honestly, I found it hard to watch. Not that a piece like this doesn't justify "maximum emotional response" but I do think there are other story telling techniques to reach a broader audience without it being overly apparent. Balance and subtlety are important IMO.

April 2, 2014 at 1:29AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jamison

What balance is there to texting while driving? It's clearly against the law and generally a bad idea. Using your phone in a mindless way in any environment is really.

April 3, 2014 at 6:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Pat

There is no balance, nor excuse for texting while driving. I think your misunderstanding my comment. Surely there is balance in effective storytelling.

April 3, 2014 at 4:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jamison

Agreed: There is no denying the importance of the message. But the storytelling would have benefited by a tad more brevity. Regardless, this is a film worth sharing with anyone who even for a few seconds fondles their phone or tablet in a moving vehicle.

April 4, 2014 at 1:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ed Hecht

If this piece reaches ONE person and saves ONE life, then it's worth it.

April 4, 2014 at 1:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Sandy Brady

I think this is great as long as you call it propaganda and not documentary. Not that there's anything wrong with making propaganda for a good cause... but if you've already decided what you're going to say before shooting a single frame of video, you can't call it documentary. I mean, what if Herzog wanted to explore the idea that telecoms (who funded him) are working full-time to encourage the kind of addiction to mobile devices that causes these tragedies? It doesn't take the blame off the guilty drivers but it's worth exploring - but not if they are the ones funding you, that's a no-no.

April 4, 2014 at 1:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Wouldn't surprise me if Amish Assassin is an actor.

April 4, 2014 at 4:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Daniel

Indifferent teemagers, to whom the film will primarily be addressed, will not heed to any of this boring film. Where were the photographs of injury or recovery videos to infuse at least some shock. Teenagers do not care for emotions.

And what of the legal convictions for the other culprits?

Useless film. And Herzog, of all people! Turned soft in his age. Disgrace.

April 4, 2014 at 4:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Daniel

So easy for anonymous people to criticize.

Oh how the Herzog detractors would secretly give anything to be that talented, accomplished, and as sought after by the likes of the big telcos. And other similarly big corporate accounts that will automatically think of Herzog and be ready to pay him what he asks when they need to make an impact.

I happily assume that Herzog will continue doing it his way and will undoubtedly continue in his success and celebrity by doing so.

April 4, 2014 at 11:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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wsmith

I think this should be required viewing for anyone taking a driving test.

April 5, 2014 at 4:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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