Little Dieter Needs to Fly
German-American pilot Dieter Dengler—a Vietnam war veteran—lives with a constant desire to fly. Today retired, secluded in his house, facing the camera, he evokes the memories of a life: his childhood in post-Second World War Germany—hunger, cold, defeat—his arrival in the United States, images of Vietnam where he fought for the army of a country that was not his. In 1997, Herzog created a portrait of this double dreamer, who, like him, knew the misery of a Germany defeated and punished by the international community. A Germany that he looks at as a kind of reflection of himself. As it is often the case with Herzog, looking at the other is a way of facing his own ghosts, of calling himself into question. Is it possible to reconstitute the fragmented memories of an entire generation broken by war? Is it even possible to erase the crimes inherited from one’s parents? Should one talk about this or instead dream of flying? Little Dieter Needs to Fly is an intimate portrait, which reveals the political complexity of a generation. A mirage.
Elena López Riera