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 »
The feared bandit Cobra Verde (Klaus Kinski) is hired by a plantation owner to supervise his slaves. After the owner suspects Cobra Verde of consorting with his young daughters, the owner ... See full summary »
An almost accidental romance is kindled between a German woman in her mid-sixties and a Moroccan migrant worker around twenty-five years younger. They abruptly decide to marry, appalling everyone around them.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
El Hedi ben Salem,
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In 1971, while Werner Herzog was location scouting for the film in Peru, he narrowly avoided taking LANSA Flight 508. Herzog's reservation was cancelled due to a last-minute change in itinerary. The plane was later struck by lightning and disintegrated, but one survivor lived after a free fall. Long haunted by the event, nearly 30 years later he made a documentary film Julianes Sturz in den Dschungel (2000) about it, which explored the story of the sole survivor Juliane Koepcke. See more »
Peruvian Indians play a song called Valicha composed in the 20th Century. See more »
The caravan of the longing is moving downward, from the cloudy peaks of the Andes into the valley. They are longing for El Dorado, the land of gold. They want happiness in this life. One of them is longing for power, too, he wants to emulate Hernando Cortez, the man who subjugated the Azthecs in Mexico and created a new big empire, bigger than the mother country Spain. His name is Don Lope de Aguirre.
But there is a blatant contradiction between claims and reality, although at first, everything seems to go according to plan. Aguirre does succeed in taking command of the troops by accusing the old leader of treason and having him condemned to death. And the soldiers do follow him, apparently without any questioning, into the remotest swamps of the Amazon Basin, driven by the only thought of easily to be acquired wealth. But innumerable adversities accompany an expedition that is heading for disaster. Fatal arrows are whizzing across the river to the men's raft, thrown by some invisible Indians. Supplies are dwindling. And the ill-humor of the soldiers is increasing as they realize that they have left themselves in the hands of a madman. Nonetheless they do nothing to change their fate.
This gives rise to the thought of drawing a parallel to recent German history. Aguirre seems to have Hitler's features. He stays on his raft until the very end, even when everything around him has already died off and he is surrounded by nothing but the pitiful squealing of an armada of monkeys. The raft is turning around, hallucinations arise and are not to be chased away. Aguirre wants to sail on to Trinidad, in order to snatch the colony away from the Spaniards and found "the purest dynasty", together with his daughter. But her innocent body has already been pierced by the lethal arrows.
There is more than just historical allusion in this movie. It is the account of failure on a large scale, and such a failure is not limited to history. Each and every human being is basically a pursuer of happiness and is looking for his own land of gold, the realization of his dreams. And in the process he can easily become entangled in delusions and get into a situation of life in which he is just moving round in circles and cannot get out of the traps he has set himself. Even when he calls himself "the wrath of God", he still remains nothing but human, and is therefore a prisoner of his own limitations.
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