From One Second to the Next

Werner Herzog’s PSA documentary on texting and driving. What concerns me as well is the flip side to the coin: my daughter blithely walking in front of a vehicle while texting and with earphones in, her presence of mind severely compromised. I’ve seen her and others do it.

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On why he stressed emotion over graphic visuals

“What was proposed to me immediately made sense. It immediately gave me the feeling I’m the right person because I don’t need to show blood and gore and wrecked cars. What I wanted to do was show the interior side of the catastrophes. …

“It’s a deep raw emotion — the kind of deep wounds that are in those who were victims of accidents and also in those who were the perpetrators. Their life has changed and they are suffering forever. They have this sense of guilt that pervades every single action, every single day, every single dream and nightmare.”

On why he included people who have caused accidents while texting

“The real essential thing is we have to see what is happening — and it’s not just an accident, not just the mechanics of an accident. It’s a new form of culture coming at us and it’s coming with great vehemence. …

“You can tell, for example, when you look at schoolyards. Kids sit around but they don’t talk. They’re all texting. And accidents have happened at a staggering rate. I mean, it’s skyrocketing. The statistics are incredible.”

On why the PSA is so lengthy

“Originally I was supposed to do four spots, 30 seconds long, but I immediately said these deep emotions, this inner landscape can only be shown if you have more time. You have to know the persons. You have to allow silences, for example, deep silences of great suffering.”