Filmmaker Errol Morris

    • set 20 items

    Errol Morris' (Hewlett, New York, 1948) main objective in his films is to pursue the truth, using all the means he has at his disposal - interviews, re-enacted scenes, animations and surprising archival material.

    After several unfinished studies (including philosophy), Morris started making films in the mid-seventies, encouraged by Werner Herzog. His breakthrough came in 1988 with the investigative documentary The Thin Blue Line, in which he used reconstructions to prove that Randall Dale Adams was wrongfully sentenced to death for the murder of a policeman; the film eventually led to his acquittal. In 2003 he won the Oscar for best documentary for The Fog of War, about former US Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara. In these and other films, Morris uses the 'interview machine' Interrotron, which makes it possible for the interviewees to look at him and at the same time look straight into the camera. In 2017 he made the remarkable documentary series Wormwood for Netflix. In addition to his documentaries, Morris also directed a large number of commercials and published several books. IDFA devoted a retrospective to him in 2015.

    Masterclass Errol Morris (IDFA 2015)
    Interview with Errol Morris

    Items in this selection

    Gates of Heaven

    • Errol Morris
    • 1977

    Director Errol Morris got the inspiration for making this film from an article which appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1977: '450 Dead Pets Going to Napa Valley'. The owners of the Foothill Memorial Gardens pet cemetery in Los Alos wanted to use the area for the construction of houses. They dug up the animals that lay buried there and moved them to the Bubbling Well Pet Memorial Park. This park is run by the Herberts, a family devoting itself to this task with dedication. Morris films this family, their work on the pet cemetery, and the people who commit their beloved quadrupeds to the earth. The most fascinating aspect of this film is the way these Californians talk. A woman tells about building a deep and meaningful relationship with her poodle. And as if the subject were not ridiculous enough, she provides this piece of information in a style that is used in commercials and advertisements, mixed with socially therapeutic gibberish. Not many films manage to show so well how Californians talk, justify themselves and their motives and, by taking on a specific jargon, succeed in keeping pure despair and desperation at arm's length. Although many of these almost exhibitionistic scenes evoke feelings of embarrassment and vicarious shame, Morris does not deride the people involved. He gives equal prominence to the horror, the hilarious disbelief and the pity. Morris mainly captures these people in static medium close-up shots, giving the audience a view of their carefully assembled, yet highly artificial interiors. These meticulous compositions are fairly unusual in documentaries. Morris seems to react against the dominating cinéma vérité-style of the sixties and seventies. The subject of his film is pet cemeteries, but more relevant is the information about language, the American middle class, and a peculiar family called the Herberts. Therefore, fans call this film "not really a documentary about pet cemeteries".

    Vernon, Florida

    • Errol Morris
    • 1981

    Humorous and relentless view of life in the white trash community of Vernon, Florida.

    The Thin Blue Line

    • Errol Morris
    • 1988

    An outstanding investigative documentary in which Errol Morris assesses the dubious conviction of an alleged murderer.

    Fast, Cheap and Out of Control

    • Errol Morris
    • 1997

    Carefully constructed film essay in which Morris contemplates the relationship between man and nature with a great sense of the absurd.

    Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr.

    • Errol Morris
    • 1999

    A mind-boggling portrait of Fred Leuchter, self-appointed authority on execution equipment and expert witness for Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel.

    The Parrot

    • Errol Morris
    • 2000

    People involved in a murder case quarrel about the testimony of a parrot that witnessed the crime.

    You're Soaking In It

    • Errol Morris
    • 2000

    Former hairdresser helps families in mourning by cleaning up after inopportune deaths.

    The Killer Inside Me

    • Errol Morris
    • 2000

    Ex-lover of serial killer falls in love with another serial killer after paying him a visit in prison.

    Eyeball to Eyeball

    • Errol Morris
    • 2000

    Passionate zoologist hopes to be the first man to meet a living giant squid.

    Smiling in a Jar

    • Errol Morris
    • 2000

    Director of collection of medical curiosities tells with black humour about some favourite items.

    I Dismember Mama

    • Errol Morris
    • 2000

    Visionary aspiring to prolong life preserves his deceased mother’s deep-frozen head, to revive it and put it on a new body.

    In the Kingdom of a Unabomber

    • Errol Morris
    • 2000

    Psychologist and aspiring writer gets entangled in battle for pen-friendship with the Unabomber.

    Mr. Debt

    • Errol Morris
    • 2000

    Lawyer gets rich by suing moneylenders on behalf of tens of thousands of desperate debtors.

    The Stalker

    • Errol Morris
    • 2000

    Rancorous ex-manager is accused of having pushed dismissed employee to mass murder.

    The Little Gray Man

    • Errol Morris
    • 2000

    After working for the CIA for twenty-five years, master deceiver has problems with his own identity.

    The Fog of War

    • Errol Morris
    • 2003

    Revealing interview with former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, interspersed with archive footage. This impressive portrait of American politics won an Academy Award.

    Standard Operating Procedure

    • Errol Morris
    • 2008

    Those involved in the U.S. Army scandal in Iraq's Abu Ghraib Prison provide us with an explanation.

    Tabloid

    • Errol Morris
    • 2010

    A vigorous portrait of the eccentric ex-model Joyce McKinney, who kidnapped her Mormon fiancé out of love and became a victim of the tabloids.

    The Unknown Known

    • Errol Morris
    • 2013

    Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld candidly discusses his enormous archive of political memo's – about Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.

    The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman's Portrait Photography

    • Errol Morris
    • 2016

    A portrait of the photographer Elsa Dorfman (b. 1937), who captured thousands of famous and unknown subjects using a rare large-format Polaroid camera.