Werner Herzog directing Heart of Glass.

His distinct narration and pioneering look at the natural world and the human condition have captivated audiences for decades, with French filmmaker Francois Truffaut once calling Werner Herzog “the most important film director alive.” This August, the Film Society of Lincoln Center will take a look at the Oscar winners “first phase” of work, mostly from the late 60s and 70s in Werner Herzog: Parables of Folly and Madness.

“Looking at old production stills, I am astonished how young I was when I made these films,” Herzog commented on the retrospective via email. “Even more astonishing for me is the notion that the films have not aged a bit.”

Film Comment editor Gavin Smith, also the series' programmer, added: “This collection of films were what put Werner Herzog on the map internationally, establishing him as the New German Cinema’s so-called Mad Visionary, the filmmaker who went to the furtherest extremes to depict a truly unique and idiosyncratic vision of the human condition at the limits of experience and on the edges of civilization at the brink of anarchy. Anchored by his celebrated pairings with Klaus Kinski and Bruno S., the series reminds us why Herzog is one of world cinema’s most daring and uncompromising and yet deeply eccentric film artists.”

Klaus Kinski in Fitzcarraldo.

The weeklong retro will spotlight eight films from Herzog in 35mm, recalling his early idiosyncratic take on the human condition. The program includes Herzog's first collaborations with the late German actor Klaus Kinski in Aguirre, The Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo, in which Kinski plays an opera aficionado determined to build an opera house in the Peruvian jungle.

Signs of Life, Herzog’s feature debut, will also be presented as well as two films on which he collaborated with outsider artist and musician Bruno S., The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (Every Man for Himself and God Against All) and Stroszek, Herzog’s raw look at American despair about an accordion player who is released from prison and sets up house with a prostitute.

Tickets to Werner Herzog: Parables of Folly and Madness are now on sale. See three films or more and save with a Discount Package.