Ballad of the Little Soldier & How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

One screening only!

1984, 45 minutes

“BALLAD OF THE LITTLE SOLDIER is the record of another Herzog journey, this time to northeastern Nicaragua to the territory of the Miskito Indians, the former allies of the Sandinistas in the revolution against the Somoza regime, but who are now engaged in their own war against the Sandinistas. Originally persecuted by the Somoza Government, the Miskitos joined the revolution in the fond hope of obtaining their own freedom and some sort of guarantee for their culture. Once in power in Managua, however, the Sandinistas set about to bring the Miskitos into the ‘new’ society… the Government’s campaign resulted in the Miskitos being ruthlessly uprooted, their villages destroyed, their crops burned, their livestock butchered and the systematic massacre of all recalcitrants – men, women and children.

“Now, apparently equipped by the Central Intelligence Agency, the Miskitos have put together a crack commando troop, about half of whom are boys 10 to 12 years old, trained by former members of the Somoza regime’s notorious National Guard… The most moving moment in the film comes when Mr. Herzog’s assistant director, Denis Reichle, after listening to the testimony of 10- and 12- year-old boy commandos who express their willingness to fight the good fight and to die, recalls that this was just the sort of thing he heard in Germany in the last days before the fall of Hitler, when the Nazis were recruiting boys into the army. BALLAD OF THE LITTLE SOLDIER is not a rabble-rousing film. It’s both a lament about the idiotic state or the world and a song in praise of the human spirit.” –New York Times

1976, 45 minutes

“HOW MUCH WOOD WOULD A WOODCHUCK CHUCK is a documentary account of the World Championship contest for livestock; auctioneers, conducted in the Amish country of Pennsylvania. The title comes from a tongue-twister that one of the contestants uses to practice. Since the auctioneers’ language is unintelligible to anyone save potential cattle buyers, the film becomes a study of gestures, a chance to view the contestants’ near-fanatical animation in abstract terms. The auctioneers’ absolute dedication to an unfathomable craft has the kind of freakishness that has often fascinated Herzog in the past, and here he once again examines odd behavior with distance and clarity… a work of considerable interest.” –New York Times

Images ©Werner Herzog Film

Part of the series Ecstatic Truths: Documentaries by Herzog

  • Director Werner Herzog

IFC Center does not generally provide advisories about subject matter or potentially triggering content in films, as sensitivities vary from person to person. In addition to the synopses, trailers and other links on our website, further information about content and age-appropriateness for specific films can be found on Common Sense Media, IMDb and as well as through general internet searches.