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New Werner Herzog film follows internet from its birth at UCLA

Famed director Werner Herzog’s newest film opens with a view of UCLA’s Kerckhoff Hall taken from the northern corner of the Court of Sciences.

With Herzog’s distinctively raspy voice providing the narration, the camera soon moves along a corridor in Boelter Hall, turning into room 3420. There, computer science professor Leonard Kleinrock is pounding on the side of the Internet Message Processor, or IMP, with his fist, demonstrating its military-grade hardiness. A refrigerator-sized hunk of metal and electronics, the impregnable IMP once performed a function that is now handled by tiny devices inside laptops, cellphones and smartwatches. But the IMP was key to the launch of the internet, which took place in Kleinrock’s lab in October 1969.

Herzog’s new documentary, “Lo and Behold: Reveries of a Connected World,” derives its title from a famous anecdote Kleinrock spins about that fateful night in his lab. Researchers trying to type “login” on a machine that was connected to the Stanford Research Institute only managed to punch in the first two letters before the system crashed. The institute, like UCLA, was a hub of what was then called the ARPAnet.

“Lo,” Kleinrock now says, was an inadvertent omen for the coming revolution in human communication, a revolution that continues to reshape society.

Read full article about film, which includes comments from both Herzog and Kleinrock.

Home page photo and embedded video courtesy of Magnolia Pictures/UCLA.

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