Little Dieter Needs to Fly | Chicago Reader

Little Dieter Needs to Fly

A U.S. Navy pilot, Dieter Dengler was shot down over Laos in 1966 and became a prisoner of war. In this deceptively conventional 1997 documentary by Werner Herzog, Dengler recounts and reenacts his astonishing story; it's so rehearsed and so incredible that it sometimes sounds exaggerated or even fabricated, yet there's never any doubt that he's been to hell and back. The strangely low-key dramatizations were shot on location, and in one of them Herzog's subtlety and Dengler's empathy combine in a moment of keen emotion: a man stands silently beside Dengler, representing the subject of his harrowing story, and after Dengler has finished, he spontaneously puts his arm around the man's shoulders and reassures him that this is only a movie. 80 min.

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