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 »
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 geologist Lance Hackett is employed by an Australian mining company to map the subsoil of a desert area covered with ant hills prior to a possible uranium extraction. His work is ... See full summary »
A documentary on the chaotic production of Werner Herzog's epic Fitzcarraldo (1982), showing how the film managed to get made despite problems that would have floored a less obsessively ... 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In the DVD Commentary, Werner Herzog reveals that the ship in the trees originally was part of a subplot that was dropped in the course of filming. It was intended to be a real ship, not a hallucination. He has not explained how the ship came up there. See more »
In one of the final shots, as the camera circles Aguirre's raft, you can see the wake left by the camera boat. See more »
I was a prince in this land. No one was allowed to look directly into my eyes. But now I'm in chains, like my people, and I must bow my head. Almost everything was taken from us. I can't do anything; I'm powerless. But I am also sorry for you, because I know there is no escape from this jungle.
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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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