Abstract: To make visible the invisible has always been a key challenge to film. This paper will study how German director Werner Herzog, a regular explorer of the material / spiritual dichotomy, has managed to visualize something as invisible as faith in his documentaries Pilgrimage (2001) and Wheel of Time (2003). By identifying a strong narrative and aesthetic focus on gesture, we will work on a possible reading on physical devotion as a contemporary substitute to sacrifice. Gesture, then, will become not only the visible translation of what we will argue is represented as a natural and universal faith, but also the apparatus enabling the feeling of the sacred.
Documenting Faith: Physical Devotion in Werner Herzog’s Pilgrimage (2001) and Wheel of Time (2003) — by Chantal Poch