During the 1800s, paroled Brazilian bandit Cobra Verde is sent to West Africa with a few troops to man an old Portuguese fort and to convince the local African ruler to resume the slave trade with Brazil.
In the 1950s, an adolescent Werner Herzog was transfixed by a film performance of the young Klaus Kinski. Years later, they would share an apartment where, in an unabated, forty-eight-hour ... See full summary »
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>
A Spanish expedition is sent out to travel deep into the jungle and find the legendary city of El Dorado and recover its gold for the throne of Spain. Quickly the expedition gets into trouble and leader Don Pedro de Ursua decides that they must turn back. However to do this is not an option to Don Lope de Aguirre, who leads a violent rebellion, culling those loyal to Ursua and officially breaking off ties with Spain. The group continue down the river in search of their goal but conditions are hard and it is only the increasingly unrealistic aims of Aguirre that drives them onwards.
In both the film and the making of the film this is best sold as a medieval Apocalypse Now as it has a great collection of stories behind it while also being an interesting journey into the mouth of madness. The "making of" is told better other places than I can do here so I shan't bother, but suffice to say that at times the film feels like Herzog is just watching his cast to see what happens and not just following his characters. The plot sees them gradually fall from the pomp and civility that they start the film with and this is no surprise, but the manner in which it happens is still interesting and engaging. Some viewers may find it going where they expect it to, but this should not surprise anyone and it shouldn't stop the majority of people enjoying the journey.
Herzog's direction is strong throughout. He does well with what was a very difficult shoot and he gets plenty of strong shots out of it all of which still stand up as being impressive by today's standards. His direction of actors may not have been quite as good but the performances are still very good. Kinski is very strong in the lead role and, whether acting or not, he is totally convincing as he loses touch with reality. The support are all good, although Kinski is obviously where the picture is.
Overall an impressive film that is more worthwhile watching because of the stories behind it. The narrative may be simple and obvious enough but it is still very engaging as a journey or rather descent. Is maybe praised a little bit too highly by some but is a fascinating film regardless.
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