This film shows the disaster of the Kuwaitian oil fields in flames. In contrast to the common documentary film there are no comments and few interviews. What must have been the hell itself ... See full summary »
The inhabitants of an institution in a remote country rebel against their keepers. Their acts of rebellion are by turns humorous, boring and alarming. An allegory on the problematic nature ... See full summary »
An alien narrates the story of his dying planet, his and his people's visits to Earth and Earth's man-made demise, while human astronauts attempt to find an alternate planet for surviving humans to live on.
Herzog's documentary of the Wodaabe people of the Sahara/Sahel region. Particular attention is given to the tribe's spectacular courtship rituals and 'beauty pageants', where eligible young... See full summary »
Herzog takes a film crew to the island of Guadeloupe when he hears that the volcano on the island is going to erupt. Everyone has left, except for one old man who refuses to leave. Herzog ... See full summary »
A meeting of two world famous climbers, one an experienced mountaineer the other a sport climber, and a journalist (Ivan) results in a bet on which of the two is the best climber. Roger (... See full summary »
This film shows the disaster of the Kuwaitian oil fields in flames. In contrast to the common documentary film there are no comments and few interviews. What must have been the hell itself is presented to the viewer in such beautiful sights and beautiful music that one has to be fascinated by it. The German title translates 'lessons in darkness'. Written by
Werner Herzog thought the fires would be burning for months; when he found out they could be out in a few weeks, he hooked up with an experienced English film crew that had gotten permits but hadn't yet decided on the angle to their film. See more »
In an aerial shot, the shadow of the camera's helicopter is visible (about 10 minutes, 8 seconds into the film). See more »
This was once a forest before it was covered with oil. Everything that looks like water is in actuality oil. Ponds and lakes are spread out all over the land. The oil is treacherous because it reflects the sky. The oil is trying to disguise itself as water.
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Herzog's apocalyptic vision of Kuwait is grand and memorable
Herzog's grandiose manner, sense of the operatic, and true historical events come together awe-inspiringly in this apocalyptic vision of oil fires and destruction left in the wake of the Gulf War.
If ever a man was fitted to undertake the portrayal of destruction on such a grand scale, then Herzog is he. It would be interesting to know whether this documentary was a commission or Hertzog directed this film on a personal, artistic basis. Whatever the reason for its production, Lessons of Darkness (it's English title) is a stunning piece of work. The Kuwaiti landscape is presented in sweeping, wide angle shots making it look like the surface of an alien planet rather than the Middle East. Huge oil fires, the cratered burnt desert, dark oil spills, crumpled and abandoned machinery and war vehicles, appear in surreal and awesome parade which both take the viewer's breath away in their beauty and shock through the utter devastation.
A central section, in which quiet footsteps walk alongside a ghastly display of torture implements, provides a shocking contrast to the images that open the film. Here the impact is smaller, more intimate but as moving.
In the third and last part of the film, firefighters attempt to douse the oil blazes, their hoses and equipment rearing up and out in the smoke and sunshine, shining like monsters in the alien landscape.
The sonorous music of Wagner perfectly complements a vision which is an entirely characteristic, memorable addition to Herzog's oeuvre.
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