With his trademark mixture of empathy and scrutiny, Errol Morris has changed the face of documentary filmmaking in the United States, and his career began with two remarkable tales of American eccentricity: Gates of Heaven and Vernon, Florida. The first uses two Northern California pet cemeteries as the bases for a profound and funny rumination on love, loss, and industry; the second travels to a languorous southern backwater and meets a handful of fascinating folks—a determined turkey hunter, a curious minister, a laconic policeman—engaged in individualistic, sometimes absurd pursuits. Morris consistently creates humane portraits of true candor, and these early works remain two of his greatest and most provocative films.
Gates of Heaven
Errol Morris burst out of the gate with this brilliant debut feature, about two pet cemeteries in Northern California and the people involved with them.
Vernon is a town in the Florida panhandle surrounded by swamps. Here, Errol Morris found the quietly fascinating subjects for the follow-up to his galvanizing debut, Gates of Heaven.
- New 2K digital restorations of both films, supervised by director Errol Morris, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays
- New interviews with Morris
- Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1980), a twenty-minute film by Les Blank featuring Herzog fulfilling a bet intended to inspire Morris to complete his first feature
- Footage of Herzog professing his admiration for Gates of Heaven at the 1980 Telluride Film Festival
- PLUS: An essay by critic Eric Hynes