A TALE OF DEATH, A TALE OF LIFE.
In 2011, director Werner Herzog released two documentaries, Cave of Forgotten Dreams and this one, a look at the death penalty where he doesn’t really take sides. Herzog simply interviews the perpetrators (two convicted murderers, one of them on death row in Texas), some of their relatives (such as a woman who married the one who got life, and his father, also a convict) and some of the victims’ family. We also get to see the execution chamber and hear powerful testimony from a man who was in charge of Karla Faye Tucker’s execution in 1998, an event that turned him against capital punishment. The murder case is presented from beginning to end, without any fuss; watching the relatives talk about their murdered loved ones is heartbreaking.
2011-U.S.-Britain-Germany. 107 min. Color. Produced by Erik Nelson, Werner Herzog. Directed by Werner Herzog.
Trivia: Herzog also interviewed several other death-row inmates at the time, which resulted in the miniseries On Death Row (2012).
Last word: “We do not know how we are going to die and when we are going to die, but they know it exactly. They know that in eight days, at 6pm, they will be strapped down, and at 6.01 they’ll have 30 seconds for a last statement, then a lethal injection. They know every single protocol. I was fascinated, not so much how do they see death but how they see life. So when you ask me about death, yes, I accept the question, but it always bounces back to how do I see life?” (Herzog, The Guardian)