Up 226 this week

Land of Silence and Darkness (1971)
"Land des Schweigens und der Dunkelheit" (original title)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.0/10 from 1,150 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 26 critic

Through examining Fini Straubinger, an old woman who has been deaf and blind since adolescence, and her work on behalf of other deaf and blind people, this film shows how the deaf and blind... See full summary »



0Check in

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 23 titles
created 08 Dec 2011
a list of 35 titles
created 28 Feb 2012
a list of 33 titles
created 4 months ago
a list of 36 titles
created 3 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Land of Silence and Darkness (1971)

Land of Silence and Darkness (1971) on IMDb 8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Land of Silence and Darkness.
1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

An alien narrates the story of his dying planet, his and his people's visits to Earth and Earth's man-made demise, while human astronauts attempt to find an alternate planet for surviving humans to live on.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Brad Dourif, Donald Williams, Ellen Baker
Fitzcarraldo (1982)
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The story of Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, an extremely determined man who intends to build an opera house in the middle of a jungle.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale, José Lewgoy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A documentary depicting the life and work of the trappers of Bakhtia, a village in the heart of the Siberian Taiga, where daily life has changed little in over a century.

Directors: Werner Herzog, Dmitry Vasyukov
Stars: Werner Herzog, Nikolay Nikiforovitch Siniaev, Gennady Soloviev
Invincible (2001)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A Jewish strongman performs in Berlin as the blond Aryan hero Siegfried.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Jouko Ahola, Tim Roth, Anna Gourari
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Film-maker Werner Herzog travels to the McMurdo Station in Antarctica, looking to capture the continent's beauty and investigate the characters living there.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Werner Herzog, Scott Rowland, Stefan Pashov
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Bells from the Deep is German director Werner Herzog's documentary investigation of Russian mysticism... See full synopsis »

Director: Werner Herzog
Herakles (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Reinhard Lichtenberg
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A self portrait documentary by Werner Herzog.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Werner Herzog, Reinhold Messner, Lotte Eisner
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Werner Herzog, Hans Kammerlander, Reinhold Messner
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Director: Werner Herzog
Jag Mandir (TV Movie 1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: André Heller, Werner Herzog
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Ernst Reijseger


Credited cast:
Fini Straubinger ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
M. Baaske
Elsa Fehrer ...
Heinrich Fleischmann
Rolf Illig ...
Narrator (voice)
Vladimir Kokol
Resi Mittermeier ...


Through examining Fini Straubinger, an old woman who has been deaf and blind since adolescence, and her work on behalf of other deaf and blind people, this film shows how the deaf and blind struggle to understand and accept a world from which they are almost wholly isolated. Written by Erik Gregersen <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

deaf | blind | isolation | disabled




Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

22 October 2002 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

Land of Silence and Darkness  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


See  »

Did You Know?

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

See me, feel me, touch me.
19 July 2007 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

'Land of Silence and the Darkness', written and directed by Werner Herzog, is an extraordinary documentary -- remember that word, please -- about Fini Straubinger. As a child in Germany, she suffered a terrible fall which caused a popping sensation in her neck. She was afraid to tell her parents (I can well believe this), so the injury was never treated. As a teen, she progressively lost her hearing and her sight, becoming totally deaf and blind. When Herzog made this film, Straubinger was well past middle age, and had spent most of her life in silence and darkness.

Americans who see this film will be reminded of Helen Keller. But Keller lost her sight and hearing (to scarlet fever) in very early childhood, and retained only very slight memory of her stolen senses. (Touchingly, Keller did recall seeing the rainbows formed by sunlight refracted through the crystal prisms of her mother's chandelier.) Because Straubinger retained a full memory and understanding of vision and sound, she became useful as an ambassador to the kingdoms of the blind and deaf. Fini Straubinger has dedicated her life to working with people who are deaf and blind, most of whom have borne those double handicaps either from birth or (like Keller) from infancy.

Herzog follows Straubinger on a trip through Germany, financed by an organisation for the deaf-blind. We see her communicating with other deaf-blind people through a sort of tapping code. Activities which the rest of us take for granted are truly alien experiences for these unfortunate souls. For instance, the simple act of taking a shower: for someone who has never experienced this before, and cannot have it adequately explained, the sudden onslaught of pressurised water is deeply terrifying. In the final sequence, we see a deaf-blind man hugging a tree: attempting to experience this alien life-form through his senses of touch, taste and smell.

One sequence, showing Straubinger interacting with a chimpanzee, I found unpleasant and unnecessary. I get the impression that this scene was staged by Herzog in an ill-thought attempt to inject some light 'comedy relief' into a subject that audiences might find deeply depressing.

I made a point of identifying this film as a documentary, meaning it's non-fiction. Indeed, Fini Straubinger is a real person: her blindness, her deafness, and (more importantly) her work with the deaf-blind are all real, all true. At one point in this film, Straubinger tells us that her most vivid sensory memory -- before the darkness and silence closed in -- is an image of the rapturous faces of ski jumpers as they leap into the sky. After this film was released, Herzog admitted in an interview that Straubinger had never seen a ski jumper: Herzog wrote those lines for her, because he felt that ski jumpers provided the visual symbol (I refuse to misuse the word 'metaphor') which would simultaneously represent sensory rapture and Straubinger's own isolation.

I reluctantly concede that this sort of fictionalisation is a valid device in documentary films. Those of us who are fortunate to see and hear cannot truly experience the dark silent world of Fini Straubinger and her colleagues. (Unless we too are conscripted into that realm, by accidents or illness.) Since this film can never truly put us into the mind of a deaf-blind person -- especially one who has been both deaf and blind since birth, like most of the people encountered here -- some degree of invention is necessary. I recall an anecdote told by Albert Einstein (too long to repeat here; send me an email if you want the details) concerning his attempt to explain milk to a blind man: this incident never actually occurred, but Einstein told the story to prove a point about his theory of relativity.

'Land of Silence and the Darkness' is a fascinating film about a fascinating human being. My rating: 8 out of 10.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
one of herzog's best documentaries teejay6682
Discuss Land of Silence and Darkness (1971) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: