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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Near the end of the shooting, Werner Herzog thought he had lost all the negatives that the film was shot on. He later discovered that the shipping agency at the Lima airport had completed all paperwork that accompanied the transportation of the film cans, but had not actually shipped them. The cans were thought lost for several weeks before the oversight was revealed. See more »
At about 1:22 crewman is visible (wearing a white hat) behind Kinski et al when they are pushing away the branches. He(crewman) is clearly not dressed like the Spaniards & Indians. See more »
Brother Gaspar de Carvajal:
'Thou lettest man flow on like a river, and Thy years know no end. As for man, his days are like grass as a flower on the field, so he blossoms. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone, and the place thereof shall know it no more.' You know, my child, for the good of our Lord, the Church was always on the side of the strong.
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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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