This is extremely off topic for this blog but it something I need to discuss on a public platform and this is the only one I have available.

I’ve recently finished reading Paul Cronin’s excellent book Herzog on Herzog which is as close to an autobiography of the legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog as we are every going to get. There are endless things in this book which would warrant an out of context blog post on here but I want to focus on one aspect in particular.

Near the end o the book Herzog is discussing the making of his excellent film The Ballad of the Little Solider (which is free to watch on you tube by the way) when he mentions a man named Denis Reichle who accompnied him during the filming. When asked by Paul Cronin “Who is Denis Reichle?” Herzog replies. “Denis is the most fearless person I know”

Denis Reichle, the most fearless person Werner Herzog knows.

This is quite a testament considering what Werner Herzog has gotten up to during his 50 years as a filmmaker, I could write a list as long as my arm of things that he has done that would strike fear into most people, but this guy already has. So obviously this intrigued me to find out more about Reichle.

Reichle, is a photographer and writer who travels extensively to inaccessible places to cover stories about oppressed minorities. He has survived numerous wars and riots and was captured by the Khmer Rouge during Pol Pot’s reign in Camobodia, and held for 5 months. He once landed in East Timor during a time when hundreds of thousands of people where being massacred after the Portuguese left it’s colony.  Nobody would take him into the shore from the rivers as it was so dangerous, so he swam the final kilometer holding a camera above his head.

All the information above is from mouth of Herzog, he recounts this information in the same book I mentioned at the top of the page. So infused with interest I quickly opened our trusted companion of limitless information, Google. As I typed his name it I began thinking of all the wondrous books and photographs that would be available on clicking search. However, my excitement was short lived, after the .0000003 seconds it took to search DENIS REICHLE I drew an almost total blank. The Google cupboard was bare.

I managed to find the above picture (with no reference points) and a tiny mention on IMDB of his involvement with Ballad of the Little Solider, but other than a few fleeting mentions of blogs (again solely to do with is work with Herzog) there was nothing. How could a man who has spent his entire life traveling the world photographing and writing about these incredible events have become almost invisible?

It is possible that he maintains a hidden identity, or refrains from printing his name with any of his work, but even still it’s quite amazing that this man almost does not appear to exist considering the things he is attributed to doing. It is also possible that it’s Herzog up to his old tricks again, pushing a perception of someone to it’s nth degree in search of an ecstatic truth.

Who knows maybe some day someone will enlighten me about this man or maybe it’s just best left alone, either way, if the stories of Reichle’s life are true, he is a truly amazing man.