David L. Ulin at the LA Times:
“Why is walking so full of woe?” Werner Herzog asks early in “Of Walking in Ice: Munich-Paris, 23 November – 14 December 1974” (University of Minnesota Press: 128 pp., $19.95 paper), a diary of sorts describing a 600-mile trek through winter that he undertook 40 years ago.
If this sounds quintessentially Herzog, quintessentially quixotic, so be it; in his films — most notably, perhaps, the hallucinatory “Fitzcarraldo” and “Aguirre, the Wrath of God” — he traces the price, and power, of obsession to both ennoble and dismantle us. Something similar is at work in this slender book, originally published in 1978 and newly restored to print.
The inspiration for the project is a phone call Herzog received in late 1974, informing him that a friend, the German film historian Lotte Eisner, was close to death in a Paris hospital. As an act of expiation, then, or maybe magic, Herzog decided to walk from Munich to Eisner’s bedside, as if, through such his relentless movement, he might keep her alive.