The website of Dan Erdman
Early in Werner Herzog’s 2006 film Rescue Dawn, German-born American fighter pilot Dieter Dengler (played by Christian Bale), shot down and held captive by the Vietcong, is given the choice to put his signature to a statement denouncing the war and the “corrupt American political establishment” in exchange for an early release. Dengler refuses, telling his captor, “I love America. America gave me wings.” The moment sets the plot in motion, as Dengler is then forced into the ordeal of a Vietnamese prison camp and must improvise some means of escape.
Something of a mirror-image scene occurs at the end of Herzog’s Of Walking in Ice, the director’s diary of his 1974 walk from Munich to Paris to visit film critic, archivist, and personal mentor Lotte Eisner, who had become suddenly and dangerously ill some weeks before.