8.2/10
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29 user 38 critic

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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Storyline

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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Genres:

Documentary | War

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Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

26 October 2002 (Hong Kong)  »

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Lessons of Darkness  »

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1.85 : 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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Soundtracks

Sonata for Two Violins, op. 56
Written by Sergei Prokofiev
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User Reviews

 
Must be seen to be believed
30 April 2002 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

Herzog has been making brilliant films since the late '60s, and frankly it's a bit of a pain in the arse keeping up with such a prolific director.

However, if you are a fan of his features and staggering documentary work, "Lessons of/in Darkness" demands your immediate attention.

The film is essentially a birds-eye view (often quite literally) of the plague of oil-choked death, fire, chaos and destruction that resulted from the brief but grotesquely internecine technological blitzkrieg of the Gulf War. Herzog, of course, takes particular interest in the seeming madness of the crews of mercernary American firefighters that are putting out the oil well fires across the deserts.

Various points on the conflict and its aftermath inevitably bubble to the surface, but arise without overt proselytizing. The images do the majority of the talking.

And they are eye-popping. Startling, frightening visuals that stand out even in the Herzog canon -- great vistas of blackness and glowing terror that would make any sci-fi director soylent green with envy. They are accompanied by little else: brief interstitials, an almost nonexistent, terribly serious Herzog narrative and a ghostly and elegiac score.

The short interviews with individuals who suffered are heartbreaking, perhaps all the more so due to their brevity.

See this.


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