Herzog’s film begins with a brief slow-motion shoot of a ski-jumper floating through the air, mouth wrenched open, imbibing the experience. The moment is perfectly complimented by a somnambulistic ethereal tune by the German group Popol Vuh, long time collaborators with Herzog.
-Senses of Cinema
"The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner (Ge. Die Große Ekstase des Bildschnitzers Steiner) is a 1974 documentary film by German filmmaker Werner Herzog. It is about celebrated ski-jumper Walter Steiner who works as a carpenter for his full-time occupation. Herzog has called it 'one of my most important films.'
The film includes footage shot in the German towns of Oberstdorf and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, as well as Planica in Yugoslavia. The film was made as part of a series for a German television station, which restricted in some ways the content. Herzog's original cut was 60 minutes long, but it was edited down to 45 minutes to fit in a one hour television spot. Also, the station required Herzog himself to appear on camera, which he had not typically done in his documentaries until this point."