Werner Herzog’s latest documentary, Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World, is a meditation on technology and humanity that includes interviews with everyone from developers of the early Internet to astrophysicists to Elon Musk.
It’s also a film with a strange genesis. Lo and Behold is the result of a collaboration with Netscout, a hardware company that was originally interested in Herzog making short films about what would happen if the Internet was disrupted.
“I immediately declined because I thought it was an attempt to hire me for a commercial,” Herzog tells Co.Create. “I have had an attitude in all my working life that I’ve never done commercials because I feel uncomfortable with the consumer civilization in which we are living. I feel uncomfortable and I would not like to somehow instigate and promote consumerism even further.”
“It turned out, no, it was much more like something I did for YouTube once about texting and driving. I was told it was something like that, and in fact I was completely left alone and could do whatever I wanted to do. [. . .] It was a very pleasant collaboration, and they loved the film when they were finished. We all watched it and they loved it. They were proud to be part of it.”
When you watch Lo and Behold, it feels like an installment of Carl Sagan or Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos filtered through Herzog’s sensibility in the best possible way.