IMDb > Land of Silence and Darkness (1971)

Land of Silence and Darkness (1971) More at IMDbPro »Land des Schweigens und der Dunkelheit (original title)


User Rating:
8.1/10   1,269 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Down 24% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
View company contact information for Land of Silence and Darkness on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
22 October 2002 (Hong Kong) See more »
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... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
a very sad but rewarding experience about those who can feel but can't see or hear See more (9 total) »


  (in credits order)
Fini Straubinger ... Herself
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
M. Baaske
Elsa Fehrer ... Herself
Heinrich Fleischmann
Rolf Illig ... Narrator (voice)
Vladimir Kokol
Resi Mittermeier ... Herself
Gustav Heinemann ... Himself (uncredited)

Directed by
Werner Herzog 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Werner Herzog 

Produced by
Werner Herzog .... producer
Cinematography by
Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein 
Film Editing by
Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus 

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Land des Schweigens und der Dunkelheit" - West Germany (original title)
See more »
85 min
Color (Eastmancolor)
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
9 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
a very sad but rewarding experience about those who can feel but can't see or hear, 11 November 2007
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States

Land of Silence and Darkness was Werner Herzog's first documentary. He still had a little bit of ways to go in terms of his style in a straightforward mode; the same year he made an experimental abstract documentary called Fata Morgana that showed him already a master of "directing landscapes" and getting a mood and setting that was unique. With LOS&D it's a little different- it's a little like the German equivalent of one of those touching documentaries that are on HBO every now and then. He's mostly there not to make any grand visual statements or ubiquitous metaphors, but to capture this insulated world where people survive against all obstacles. It's in the Herzog vein of thought and execution, of showing painfully human beings who've been unfortunately by no fault of their own into a fringe group where the act of communication has to be an obstacle itself, that the film is most powerful. Fini Straubinger is one of those gentle, courageous souls that deserves to be shown more in film, and Herzog has her pegged as a good subject- someone who communicates to those who have none (dead-blind boys from birth who barely know how to swallow let alone learn the alphabet or 'good' or 'bad') all through hand-pointing.

While Herzog lays on the orchestral strings over scenes that could be silent themselves, the people speak volumes about how the spirit of humanity and the goodness of human beings can live on in the right circumstances. There's a subtext that Herzog reaches at well of the neglect the people have been served, of some people like the woman who used to use braille but forgot and are put wrongfully in sanitariums, when they could be in the right care functional up to a point in society. So there is that part that is a running theme in most of Herzog's work that's striking, the society at large with the stragglers, those that are just trying to keep up. And out of this he makes at least a few moments, without much interference, into little moments of documentary poetry, like the boy who is ambivalent but finally does go around in the pool and feels ecstatic about being under a shower. Or the simple composition of the young man who can barely eat a banana, but merely the slightest bit of work from Fini gets him reacting.

Wedging on the line between unsentimental and sentimental is a hard thing to do with a group like this, and on a first feature-length documentary Herzog tries and for the most part makes it a brave turn on a subject neglected and bright and moving. It makes sense he would say that this is the one film he's made in decades that he wants to be available most; ironically it is overshadowed by the more astounding (if more crowd-pleasing) work with Grizzly Man and Little Dieter. Even if it isn't a great film, it is a must-see, which is rare in documentary film.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (9 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Land of Silence and Darkness (1971)


If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
The Unconquered Black Nosferatu the Vampyre The Miracle Worker La Soufrière
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Documentary section IMDb West Germany section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.