BBC2 has ordered a new doc from Werner Herzog, Arena: Nomad – In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin (1×85’), with the filmmaker retracing the steps of his friend, travel writer Bruce Chatwin.


When legendary writer and adventurer Bruce Chatwin was dying, he summoned his friend and collaborator Werner Herzog, asking to see his recent film about tribesmen of the Sahara. In exchange, as a parting gift, Chatwin gave Herzog the rucksack he’d carried on his travels around the world.

Thirty years later, carrying the rucksack, Herzog sets out on his own epic journey, inspired by their shared passion for the nomadic life.

Werner Herzog says: “Bruce Chatwin was a writer like no other. He crafted mythical tales into voyages of the mind. We were kindred spirits – he as a writer, I as a filmmaker. I wanted to make a film that is not a traditional biography but a series of encounters inspired by Bruce’s travels and ideas.”

Patrick Holland, Controller, BBC Two, says: “Werner Herzog is one of the world’s greatest filmmakers and commissioning this film about Bruce Chatwin for the BBC was one of the easier decisions we have had to make. Chatwin was an extraordinary figure, whose work has changed travel writing; this film is an intimate encounter with his legacy.”

Mark Bell, Commissioning Editor Arena and Commissioner BBC Arts, says: “This is a film only Werner Herzog could have made – an emotional portrait of a friend and fellow traveller and a visionary hymn to the nomadic spirit before it disappears forever. I am thrilled to have commissioned Nomad – In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin for BBC Arts and to be able to show it to BBC Two viewers as an Arena film.”

Arena: Nomad – In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin will air on BBC Two later this year. It was written, directed and narrated by Werner Herzog and commissioned for BBC Two and Arena by Mark Bell. Executive Producer for BBC Studios is Richard Bright.

Jon Creamer

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