Herakles

herakles

I think it’s pretty safe to say that the most exciting thing about Tom Cruise‘s new action flick, Jack Reacher, is Werner Herzog. The legendary German director does act, occasionally, but playing a Russian bad guy in a mainstream Hollywood movie? That’s something to be excited about, if only because his Russian accent will almost definitely be memorably off-beat. Yet, perhaps unsurprisingly, this isn’t Herzog’s first time dealing with machismo on film. Way back in 1962 he made a short called Herakles, his very first film ever. It’s a critical look at the relationship between masculinity and the 20th century world, at least in a sense. The bulk of the film is made up of footage of bodybuilders working out in a gym, wearing the scantiest of briefs and flexing for the camera as often as possible. The beefcake reel is then interwoven with images from the modern world that clash with the “ideal” human male, sarcastically representing the twelve labors of Hercules. “Will he clean the Augean stables?” Herzog asks, and then shows us an enormous pile of trash.

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