Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe

Thanks to my friend Grant for this one! In 1978, a young filmmaker by the name of Errol Morris, who was just starting out as a documentarian, began making a movie called Gates of Heaven about the pet cemetary business. Fellow filmmaker Werner Herzog, whom we love here on TBR, didn’t think a documentary about pet cemetaries would ever fly, and so he bet Errol Morris that the movie would never get finished, stating that he would eat his shoe if it did. You can guess what happened.

Morris did finish the documentary and got it shown in a public theatre, and while it didn’t garner much acclaim, it did result on Herzog cooking and eating his shoe in front of the audience who was there to see the film. Footage of the event was turned into a short film by Les Blank. According to Wikipedia:

The film features Herzog cooking his shoes (the ones he claims to have been wearing when he made the bet) at the Berkeley, California restaurant Chez Panisse, with the help of chef Alice Waters. (The shoe was boiled with garlic, herbs, and stock for 5 hours.) He is shown eating one of the shoes before an audience at the premiere of Gates of Heaven at the nearby UC Theater. He did not eat the sole of the shoe, however, explaining that one does not eat the bones of the chicken.

I love that, even when he’s eating his shoe, Herzog takes the time to make some insightful comments on the nature of the media, images, and yes, footwear.

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