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A few decades after the destruction of the Inca empire, a Spanish expedition leaves the mountains of Peru and goes down the Amazon river in search of gold and wealth. Soon, they come across great difficulties and Don Aguirres, a ruthless man who cares only about riches, becomes their leader. But will his quest lead them to "the golden city", or to certain destruction? Written by
Chris Makrozahopoulos <email@example.com>
Aguirre's vision. Aguirre's obsession. Aguirre's downfall......The wrath in 'Human Nature'
Klaus Kinski's enigmatic and frightening portrayal of man's obsession in Werner Herzog's nightmare masterpiece Aguirre: The Wrath Of God is a German film that is as powerful today as it was when released back in 1972. Kinski and Herzog's absolute real life hate for one another only makes the film more real in its depiction of a man driven to the edge of sanity as his obsession for a mythical treasure - so obsessed that he sacrifices all that is precious to him in finding it. Like the 'Mosquito Coast', an almost identical film, it concentrates on the human condition, in how far 'man' can go in his quest of becoming God. Werner Herzog, who's persistence in Klaus Kinski to star in most of his films, is a master storyteller and one great director, famous for other films starring Kinski including "Fitzcarraldo" and "Woyzeck". "Aguirre: The Wrath Of God", however, is his and Klaus Kinski's most famous and one of the most powerful films of all time.
Entirely a true story, set in the 1600s, following the annihilation of the Incas Empire, when the Spanish Conquistadors explored and roamed most of South America, a legendary expedition set out in Peru into the Amazon River to locate the mythical City Of Gold, El Dorado. Pizarro, the leader of the expedition comes to the point where he must turn and head back to civilization, following a long and tormenting journey that ultimately led them to nowhere. Fearing they'll get lost in the uncharted jungles of the Amazon, he sends a smaller group to complete the journey and commands them to return within a few days if no Gold is found. It is only a matter of time before this group faces unbearable difficulties down the Amazon River. Fearing the leader of their new group might turn back to prevent any more men being killed, Don Lope de Aguirre (Kinski) inspires a mutiny and manipulates the men in believing that with the riches they would find they wouldn't need to go home. They must battle with the native enemy they can't see and walk through the most difficult terrain on a most terrifying quest. What follows is a devastating character study of human nature and how one's obsession can destroy him and everything that really matters.
This film comes as a rarity in our world gone mad - a world controlled by greedy, obsessed and powerful dehumanized people. Klaus Kinski was one of the world's most profound and versatile actors. His rough, striking and villainous exterior gave him an almighty presence. He creates such a vividly obsessed and evil character in the film, you are easily convinced he is for real. I believe his abhorrence for Werner Herzog assisted him in his performance. Never during filming did they ever share ideas, always opposing and showing one's hatred for one another, which leaves people questioning their constant repairing. But Werner Herzog makes no mistake when casting Kinski in his films. Kinski drives the film, sometimes completely on his own. Werner Herzog's films are always extremely deep, philosophical and mythical. The cinematography is consistently breathtaking and never fails to transport you to the world Herzog intends to take you. And music perfectly paints the picture of human degradation, with its slow, subtle and haunting tone. It sticks in your head long after the conclusion and adds immensely to the the power of the film.
'Aguirre: The Wrath Of God', much like 'The Mosquito Coast', is one of the most poignant character studies in film history. It is in German with subtitles, but you are bound to forget they are there, as this epic film will take you to the vast and dehumanizing Amazon on an adventurous journey you will never forget. See this for the adventure if not for the underlining depth. It is a master work from a unique artist that is Werner Herzog and made a classic by the colossal Klaus Kinski. A beautiful and haunting experience that is not to be missed.
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