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 »
A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.
During the first World War, two French soldiers are captured and imprisoned in a German P.O.W. camp. Several escape attempts follow until they are sent to a seemingly impenetrable fortress which seems impossible to escape from.
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>
This film, as well as several other early films by Werner Herzog, were shot on a 35mm camera that he stole as a young man from the Munich Film School, a predecessor to today's prestigious film school 'HFF München'. Herzog himself never was a film student there or anywhere. He readily admits to the theft but also justifies it with the significance of the films he's made with the camera and his right to artistic expression: "It was a very simple 35mm camera, one I used on many other films, so I do not consider it a theft. For me, it was truly a necessity. I wanted to make films and needed a camera. I had some sort of natural right to this tool. If you need air to breathe, and you are locked in a room, you have to take a chisel and hammer and break down a wall. It is your absolute right."[Cronin, 2003] See more »
In one shot where the camera moves around the rafts, you can see the crew's living arrangements (a bunch of rafts with huts on them) near the bank of the river. See more »
Don Fernando de Guzman:
All the land to our left and all the land to our right now belongs to us. I solemnly and formally take possession of all this land. Our country is already six times larger than Spain, and every day we drift makes it bigger.
Don Lope de Aguirre:
Have you seen any solid ground that would support your weight?
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Filmed not far from Machu Picchu, the legendary lost city of the Incas in the mountains of Peru, the opening images of this film are breathtaking in their natural grandeur and visual scale. A long cavalcade of 16th century Spanish soldiers slowly winds its way, serpentine like, down a steep mountain face. It's one of the most impressive and awe-inspiring openings in film history.
The soldiers are searching for El Dorado, the fabled Andean city of gold. The caravan includes the story's main character, Aguirre (Klaus Kinski), a greedy, ambitious soldier who will stop at nothing in his quest for riches and power. Also included is Inez, a young, well-meaning woman who wears blue velvet and white lace. Representing the Spanish Crown, she rides in a wheeless carriage, described in the movie as the "sedan-chair", a flimsy, enclosed wooden box toted by other soldiers. The carriage, painted blue and red, is so out of place in this rugged wilderness, it's the first clue that the entire mission is a fool's errand, based on romantic dreams and delusions. Against the backdrop of towering mountains and dense jungle, the sedan-chair and Inez' regal looking clothes make Spanish royalty look impotent.
Eventually, only a small convoy of soldiers, along with Inez and her sedan-chair proceed, as El Dorado becomes ever more elusive. Down the Amazon River the little band of adventurers traverse, encountering one problem after another. Aguirre, having long since taken command, leads them on, ever in search of that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Throughout the film, Aguirre rarely smiles. He displays a strange body language, sometimes leaning sideways or backwards, his thoughtful, stern face with reactions that are slow and deliberate. His behavior suggests other Messianic "leaders", like Jim Jones, who led his flock of followers to their doom in 1978 in the jungles of Guyana.
"Aguirre, The Wrath Of God" is a story of adventure, a story about the mystery of the unknown. It's a story about dreams and fantasies of greed. It's a very physical film. Every single scene, without exception, was filmed outdoors.
It's a non-Hollywood type film, too. There are no sets, and some of the plot and dialogue are improvised, enhancing spontaneity and grim realism. It's a film not unlike "Deliverance" (1972).
"Aguirre, The Wrath Of God" is one of the most visually striking film I have ever seen. And the underlying theme of mankind's arrogance, against an implacable Nature, is starkly apparent. The film is visionary, profound. It will leave many viewers changed, enriched, perhaps even a little wiser.
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