If you go
What: "Cinema Interruptus" -- "Aguirre, the Wrath of God," with panelists Ramin Bahrani, Roger Ebert, Jim Emerson and Werner Herzog.
When: 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday
Where: Macky Auditorium
More info: www.colorado.edu/cwa.
Werner Herzog, who directed this year's film “Aguirre, the Wrath of God,” is making his conference debut for the Interruptus — a 35-year-old series that invites audience members to interrupt a film to debate and ask questions about its meaning, acting and cinematography.
Last year, up-and-coming filmmaker Ramin Bahrani became the first director to join famed film critic Roger Ebert and his colleague Jim Emerson on the Interruptus panel. The chosen film was Bahrani's “Chop Shop.”
Ebert and Emerson said having Bahrani present provided a unique insight into the movie that wasn't available in previous years.
This year's film selection grew out of last year's, according to Ebert. Bahrani mentioned how much he would enjoy meeting Herzog, and so they invited him, Ebert told the Camera in an e-mail. This year's panel will include Ebert, Emerson, Bahrani and Herzog.
“Although both men have busy schedules right now, they agreed to give it a try,” said Ebert, who started the Interruptus at the CU conference in 1975. After accepting Ebert's invitation for this year, Herzog chose “Aguirre, the Wrath of God” to be the showcased film, according to Ebert.
Emerson, who ran the Interruptus for a couple years when Ebert couldn't attend, said a lot of people name “Aguirre” as Herzog's best film.
“It's incredible,” he said. “The whole movie is about the descent into madness.”
The Interruptus spans five days. The first day is called the “Uninterruptus” because the movie is shown all the way through, without interruption. On subsequent days, only a portion of the film is shown, and moderators and audience members cut in with questions and comments.
The first day of the Interruptus this year was on Sunday, which is different than past years when the series started with the rest of the weeklong conference on Monday.
Emerson said he expects big things out of this week's Interruptus after last year's inaugural event with director participation.
"We had never done anything like that before, and (Bahrani) was terrific,” he said. “People got a whole different angle on the Interruptus, and they were able to ask questions that only the filmmaker could answer.”
The Interruptus process also can be interesting for the director, Emerson said, noting that some people pointed out things in the film that Bahrani hadn't put there on purpose.
“It was a different kind of collaboration with the audience,” he said.
Emerson said Ebert has been wanting to get Herzog to the CU conference for years, and this is the culmination of a lot of effort. And even though Ebert has been doing the Interruptus for nearly 40 years, Emerson said Herzog has a “strong personality” and will be guiding the film-review process in his own unique fashion this year.
Other movies in German filmmaker's portfolio include “Rescue Dawn,” “Grizzly Man” and “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.” He has produced, written and directed more than 50 films, published more than 12 books and directed numerous operas.
“Herzog is somebody who for many, many years has talked about trying to find new images,” Emerson said. “He really goes in search of new things you have never seen before.”