Lo And Behold, Reveries Of The Connected World

Film, Documentaries
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)
Lo And Behold, Reveries Of The Connected World

Werner Herzog turns his unique documentary eye on the world wide wibe

As a documentary maker, Werner Herzog follows his muse into some strange corners (past subjects include 30,000-year-old cave paintings and a grizzy bear enthusiast). His new film is about the internet and its influence on our lives. Herzog, with his trademark severe Teutonic accent, experiences a mix of awe and uneasiness as he explores a radically changing world that’s increasingly lived online.

‘Lo and Behold’ is divided into 10 sections. In the first Herzog goes deep into the computer labs at UCLA in California to the earliest terminals, meeting the coders who, in October 1969, begat the web. The very first transmission was cut short: their attempt to type 'login' was interrupted after the first two letters.

But Herzog is hardly a tech evangelist: ‘Lo and Behold’ gets more interesting as it chases down the scarier consequences of the technology revolution. The Catsouras family from California were trolled after images of their teenage daughter Nikki’s fatal car crash went viral. (Nikki’s mum calls the internet the ‘spirit of evil’.) Elsewhere, a legendary hacker tells us how exposed we are to cyberattack, while a mobile-phone-free Appalachian community, made electromagnetically pure for the sake of a research telescope, swears by the extra head space. We all hurtle toward the same uncertainties; Herzog’s doc reminds us to open our minds to the good, the bad, the weird and the wondrous.

By: Joshua Rothkopf


Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday October 28 2016
Duration: 98 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Werner Herzog

Average User Rating

4 / 5

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“Would it be useful for machines to fall in love?” 

If you’ve seen a Werner Herzog documentary before, or even if you just have a vague comprehension about who Werner Herzog is, you’ll know what to expect from a Werner Herzog does the internet documentary. It is exactly as you’d expect – from its opening to closing narration we bear witness to some of the great things about the internet and more so on the very scary things about the internet. Admittedly the documentary is rather unfocused – drifting from one aspect to another without  an identifiable focus  – yet I’m not sure you could really expect otherwise from this statesman of cinema.

The focus of the documentary isn’t the most topical nor is its approach. Herzog’s treatment of the internet here is slightly dated– his tone and approach is something more akin to bewildered and bemused Grandfather exploring concepts that have been well trodden by many before him. You’ll still learn some new things and it’ll leave you thinking – but the main novelty in watching is just to hear Herzog contemplating the Buddhist monks standing around on their phones.

Werner Zerzog has decided to turn his camera to perhaps the most interesting side of the cultural identity of today: the digital age. This documentary takes us through a chronological and thematic journey of the development of digital tecnology, delving into small and interesting details such as the origins of the digital message, the internet, the hacking of government information and the impact that the internet and computers have in the development of human identity.

The witty curiosity of the director entertains and fetishises the film's subject, which I believe is done with the intention of drawing attention to the extreme expansion of digital tecnology and to the fact that apparently it is getting out of hand. 

I was entertained from begining to end and am still shocked and thinking about the fact that the internet data that we use for one day worldwide is equivalent to the data that CDs piled up from the Earth to Mars and back can hold!