Not one to pat himself on the back, Werner Herzog rarely accepts invitations to celebrate his own work. But there he was receiving an award at the Coolidge Corner Theatre Thursday night.
Why? The acclaimed director of “Aguirre, the Wrath of God,” “Nosferatu the Vampyre,” and “Grizzly Man,” among many other fine films, said he looked at the list of previous Coolidge Award winners, and he was impressed.
“That’s a fine lineup and it has real value for me,” Herzog said, referring to actresses Meryl Streep and Jane Fonda, actor Viggo Mortensen, director Jonathan Demme, film editor Thelma Schoonmaker, cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, and director Zhang Yimou.
Seated on stage with his friend and occasional collaborator Herbert Golder, a professor of classical studies at Boston University, the 75-year-old German filmmaker was his usual droll self, dishing some behind-the-scenes details from his movies.
Herzog also revealed himself to be a fan of “WrestleMania” — it’s a “beautifully orchestrated drama,” he said — and of the Warren Commission report, calling the 888-page investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy “a phenomenal read.”
In her introductory remarks, Coolidge Corner Theatre executive director Katherine Tallman noted that the famously award-intolerant Herzog “routinely declines such invitations,” so it was a coup for the Coolidge that he showed up.
Herzog said he was happy to accept the award because he’s in good company.
“I’m totally and absolutely proud to line up right behind them,” he said, referring to previous recipients.