When legendary writer and adventurer Bruce Chatwin was dying of AIDS, he summoned his friend and collaborator Werner Herzog, asking to see his recent film about tribesman of the Sahara. In exchange, as a parting gift, Chatwin gave Herzog the rucksack he’d carried on his travels around the world.
Thirty years later, carrying the rucksack, Herzog sets out on his own journey, inspired by their shared passion for the nomadic life. Along the way, Herzog uncovers stories of lost tribes, wanderers and dreamers.
He travels to South America, where Chatwin wrote In Patagonia, the book that turned him into a literary sensation, with its enigmatic tales of dinosaurs, myths and journeys to the ends of the world.
In Australia, where Herzog and Chatwin first met, Herzog explores the sacred power of the Aboriginal traditions which inspired Chatwin’s most famous book, The Songlines. And in the UK, in the beautiful landscape of the Welsh borders, he discovers the one place Chatwin called home.
Told in Herzog’s inimitable style, full of memorable characters and encounters, the film explores the creative and personal vision he shared with Chatwin: a passion for the power of storytelling and desire to find insights into human experience among communities at the extremes.
A portrait of one of the 20th century’s most charismatic writers, the film also offers a revealing personal insight into the imagination and obsessions of one of the world’s most visionary directors.
Selected at Tribeca Film Festival and Sheffield Doc Fest
“Duplicating many of Chatwin’s most notable journeys, Herzog evokes the late English wanderer’s restless soul and curious fascination with profound issues that have long captivated the director… this sincere homage should entice adventurous viewers … conveys a sense of profound beauty and primordial mystery.”
“An encomium to a lost friend… Herzog imbues the film with rich narration, unforgettable characters and National Geographic-worthy landscape shots all his own.”
“A poignant testament to two friends’ shared curiosity about the world… admirers of either artist will find it very worthwhile, as will viewers who need the occasional reminder that the world still contains wild places to explore.”
“A lovely, elegiac documentary about two men who shared a real brotherhood.”
“Fans of Herzog’s and Chatwin’s and either/or would love this documentary… in some ways, it’s larger than life, just as both the director and its subject.”
“Does not just want to craft a film worthy of the late writer’s legacy, but also seeks to let viewers inside Herzog. Appearing on screen often and narrating the picture, as much of what is learned has to do with Herzog as it does with Chatwin.
In that manner, it’s a fascinating project for devotees of the filmmaker to pour themselves into. Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin is undoubtedly Herzog’s most personal non-fiction work to date. He imbues the entire project with a sense of profound duty.”
“The relationship between the prolific filmmaker Werner Herzog and writer / adventurer, Bruce Chatwin was a meeting of the minds. These two multi-talented, uniquely creative geniuses shared an insatiable curiosity and sense of adventure. Visionary in the practice of their art and nomadic in their lives, they shared much in common.
It is a poetic elegiac journey for Herzog, who shares his own reflections and enriches a glorious tribute. One feels privileged to be along on this trip.”