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Lessons of Darkness (1992)
"Lektionen in Finsternis" (original title)

8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 2,904 users  
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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 »

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Title: Lessons of Darkness (1992)

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Storyline

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 Oliver Heidelbach

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Release Date:

26 October 2002 (Hong Kong)  »

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Lessons of Darkness  »

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1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

In an aerial shot, the shadow of the camera's helicopter is visible (about 10 minutes, 8 seconds into the film). See more »

Quotes

Narrator: Two figures are approaching an oil well. One of them holds a lighted torch. What are they up to? Are they going to rekindle the blaze? Is life without fire become unbearable for them?... Others, seized by madness, follow suit. Now they are content. Now there is something to extinguish again.
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Featured in Der letzte Dokumentarfilm (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Herzog's apocalyptic vision of Kuwait is grand and memorable
15 September 2000 | by (London) – See all my reviews

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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