German filmmaker Werner Herzog has attained a level of ubiquity few directors have ever reached, mostly thanks to the quality and distinction of his work but undoubtedly aided by his newfound popularity as a YouTube sensation. The idea that Herzog, who gained prominence alongside Alexander Kluge and Rainer Werner Fassbinder as a stalwart of New German Cinema, has become some sort of pop culture icon seems an unlikely career trajectory. Still, he’s a perennial eccentric, dating back to the days when he stole production equipment from the Munich Film School to make his first few movies. He’s a capricious, fiendishly brilliant madman who once ate his own shoe—he’s tailor made for viral video.
However, at the end of the day, it’s the films that matter most, and Herzog’s got a new one in town this week, so I figured I’d take the opportunity to list my five favorite. Check them out after the jump.