Sunday, February 25, 2018
Opinion

Putting an unblinking eye on texting danger

From One Second to the Next, a rather unlikely film, came together when AT&T approached the legendary German filmmaker Werner Herzog and asked if he would direct a series of short films warning people about the dangers of texting while driving.

"What AT&T proposed immediately clicked and connected inside of me," Herzog, whose films have examined grizzly bears, plane crash survivors, cave paintings and death row inmates, told the AP. "There's a completely new culture out there. I'm not a participant of texting and driving — or texting at all — but I see there's something going on in civilization which is coming with great vehemence at us."

The result is haunting. It focuses on four accidents, some of them fatal, and Herzog aims his camera squarely at the faces of both victims and perpetrators, asking them to describe in detail what happened and the aftermath. Herzog emphasizes the change in civilization he perceives in part by examining an accident in which an Amish family was killed and another in which a horse-shoer's truck was involved. (Watch the full 35-minute film at tinyurl.com/tbtimes-herzog.)

The film expands on the 30-second commercials that the director of such critically acclaimed films as Aguirre: The Wrath of God created for the "It Can Wait" campaign, an initiative launched by AT&T to raise awareness about the topic.

It is not easy viewing, but, for the more than 40,000 high schools and hundreds of safety organizations and government agencies where it will be shown, I suspect it will be effective. As Herzog says, "In one second, entire lives are either wiped out or changed forever."

David Haglund

© 2013 Slate

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