8.2/10
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Lessons of Darkness (1992)

Lektionen in Finsternis (original title)
This film shows the disaster of the Kuwaitian oil fields in flames, with few interviews and no explanatory narration. Hell itself is presented in such beautiful sights and music that one has to be fascinated by it.

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This film shows the disaster of the Kuwaitian oil fields in flames, with few interviews and no explanatory narration. Hell itself is presented in such beautiful sights and music that one has to be fascinated by it.

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Documentary | War

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Not Rated | See all certifications »
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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

Director Werner Herzog cheerfully admitted that the quote at the end of the film, allegedly by Pascal, was completely made up and falsely attributed to give it more weight. 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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Soundtracks

Stabat Mater
Written by Arvo Pärt
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User Reviews

 
Mission Accomplished
30 December 2005 | by (Cullowhee, N.C.) – See all my reviews

Lessons of Darkness (1992) looks and acts like a companion piece to Fata Morgana (1971). As with the earlier film, Lessons either captures viewers or leaves them confused and bored within the first few minutes. Early in Lessons we see an aerial shot of an unusual city. It is obviously a contemporary urban area because we see highways, traffic, stoplights, and large buildings, but it is also obvious that it is not an American city. The narrator (Herzog) announces that this city is about to be destroyed by war and the thought of this strange but vibrant place being destroyed becomes completely repugnant. Thus, Herzog succeeds here with the approach he initially planned and then abandoned in Fata Morgana. Lessons of Darkness triumphs as a mock Science Fiction story of an apocalypse that threatens all of civilization. Luckily, it doesn't take a college education to realize that the footage is shot in Iraq in the aftermath of the First Gulf War. Luckily as well, Herzog's anti-war statement does not need to be explicit to be effective. Early in the film, interviews with two Iraqi women suggest the human price of this military event. In the rest of the film, humans appear to be on the periphery of the "action" but they keep coming back to the center of our consciousness. Those who persist in their viewing will eventually encounter a chilling repetitiveness in this film (the fires are still burning!) However, that repetitiveness can become cumulative and mesmerizing. This is not a film experience for everyone, but for those who have a taste for it the film will be unforgettable.


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