Surprisingly weak effort, lacking insight and direction
For a documentary subtitled 'Faith and Superstition in Russia', this early 90's effort by acclaimed German director Werner Herzog sure provides absolutely nothing in the way of insight. It lacks coherence and focus simply because it's uncertain of what point it's trying to make. If there is any. Herzog's camera follows a self-appointed Jesus as he goes around preaching the word to chubby superstitious babuskas, a 'sorceror/ exorcist' performing on a group of women, a man responsible for tolling the bells of a church and so on so forth in a random assortment of superstitious peasants and religious weirdos, the kind of which you have no small chance of encountering in ANY rural area, from Tenessee to the Amazon. What it doesn't have is a premise to fulfill, a conclusion to arrive at. Is there anything to this snapshot of weird religious behaviour that is not self-explanatory? As a travelogue of rural Russia and the selectively weird people that may inhabit it, it is okay. As a documentary about 'Faith and Superstition in Russia', Bells from the Deep has little insight to shed on the matter. In fact, you could save yourself the 60 minutes and just read the title, because Herzog has little more to say.
5 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?