“He was a writer like no other. We were kindred spirits.” Two brilliant polymaths come together in Herzog’s fascinating appreciation of Chatwin, a man whose obsessions included walking, the ascetic lives of nomads (and its inverse: the OCD of collectors), pre-history, mythology, Aboriginal culture, art history, and archeology. Described as “alarmingly handsome,” Chatwin began work at Sotheby’s (he called it “smother boys”) dusting objects – and at age 26 became its youngest director. Then he quit – to study, travel, and write. His fictionalized biography of a 19th century Brazilian slave trader became the basis for Herzog’s COBRA VERDE.
With a writing style (The Songlines, In Patagonia, On the Black Hill) described by John Updike as “clipped, lapidary prose that compresses worlds into pages,” Chatwin brought travel writing to imaginative new heights. And, like Herzog, he was known for embellishing facts to make them truer. NOMAD is Herzog’s moving portrait of the man and the artist who didn’t tell “half-truths,” but “truth and a half.” (Excerpted from Film Forum).