Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Little Dieter Wants to Fly (1998)
Directed by Werner Herzog. Documentary films are the grilled salmon of movies. Meaning, when you have grilled salmon with lemon, don't you think, "how dumb is it that I don't have this more often? What am I doing eating pizza all the time when there's the salmon right there on the menu?" Warner Herzog's "Little Dieter Wants to Fly" tells the life story of Dieter Dengler, a poor German boy whose only ambition was to be a pilot.
Dengler's adventures are astonishing. To meet his ambition to be a pilot he becomes a career military man. In 1966, serving in Vietnam and captured in a prison camp in Laos, he escapes. This is a man who served in the German and U.S. military and in both WWII and Vietnam. He worked as a test pilot. He survived many plane crashes. He watched friends die at the hands of enemies and negotiated for his own life. Obviously, he was a man of tremendous personal strength and phenomenal luck, both good and bad.
The quality of this movie is that different people will take different things from it. At its core is an endlessly exciting story, and really, that can be enough. But for anyone wants it there is human inspiration as well.